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Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce

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Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce – delicious creamy sauce perfectly combines all the flavors: bacon, garlic, spices, tomatoes. You might want to double this recipe!

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I love making pasta with cream-based sauces. Cream sauce absorbs the wonderful flavors from all the ingredients in the dish, and with every single bite you get all the goodness and all the flavors!  This pasta recipe is a true comfort food!

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In this recipe, stove-top seared and spiced chicken is mixed with vegetables and bacon and then smothered in garlic cream sauce. So good! And, very easy to make! You can easily make it on a regular weeknight, as long as you have all ingredients!

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It’s a gluten free friendly recipe, and all you need to do to make it gluten free is use gluten-free brown-rice penne pasta instead of regular penne.

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And, here are step-by-step photos:
In a large skillet, on high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add chicken and cook on one side on high heat for 1 minute. While it cooks, sprinkle the uncooked sides of the chicken with paprika and Italian seasoning. Flip the chicken over, and cook on the other side for 1 minute on high heat. Reduce heat to medium, flip chicken over again and cook, covered, for several minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from the pan and keep chicken warm.

cooking chicken on stove top for pasta recipe

To the same pan (but without chicken), add chopped tomatoes, spinach, garlic, crushed red pepper, 1/3 of the chicken (sliced into small strips) and half the bacon (it should be already cooked and drained of fat). Mix everything.

combining vegetables, tomatoes, spinach, bacon, and chicken for pasta dinner recipe

Add half and half and bring to boil. Only after half and half starts boiling, add grated Parmesan cheese:

adding cream and cheese to the vegetables, bacon, and chicken

Immediately reduce to simmer and stir, while simmering, until the cheese melts and makes the sauce creamy, only about 1 minute (at most 2 minutes). Then, immediately remove from heat. Season with more crushed red pepper and salt, if needed.

creamy tomato sauce with spices, cheese - for pasta recipe

In the mean time, cook pasta according to package instructions. Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Add remaining half of baon (already cooked and drained of fat). Season with more salt if necessary. Slice the remaining 2/3 of chicken into thin strips. To serve, top the pasta with chicken strips and grated Parmesan cheese.

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Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce

Ingredients

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken (chicken breast or tenders)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil - combined)
  • 5 medium tomatoes, chopped in large cubes
  • 1 cup cooked spinach
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 (maximum 1/2 teaspoon) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 bacon strips, COOKED, DRAINED OF FAT, AND CHOPPED
  • 1 and 1/3 cups half and half
  • 1 and 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 10 oz penne pasta (for gluten-free version, use gluten-free brown-rice penne, such as Tinkyada)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
  • NOTE:
  • WHAT IS HALF AND HALF? Half and half is the US milk product that combines half milk half heavy cream (whipping cream) to form a lighter cream (unlike heavy cream). You can easily make it yourself by combining half milk and half heavy or whipping cream. If you live in the UK, half and half would be the equivalent of single cream. Alternatively, you can mix half double cream and half regular milk (if you live in the UK).

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, on high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add chicken and cook on one side on high heat for 1 minute. While it cooks, sprinkle the uncooked sides of the chicken with paprika and Italian seasoning. Flip the chicken over, and cook on the other side for 1 minute on high heat. Reduce heat to medium, flip chicken over again and cook, covered, for several minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from the pan and keep chicken warm.
  2. To the same pan (but without chicken), add chopped tomatoes, spinach, garlic, crushed red pepper, 1/3 of the chicken (sliced into small strips) and half the bacon (already cooked and drained of fat). Mix everything.
  3. Add half and half and bring to boil. Only after half and half starts boiling, add grated Parmesan cheese - immediately reduce to simmer and stir, while simmering, until the cheese melts and makes the sauce creamy, only about 1 minute (at most 2 minutes). Then, immediately remove from heat. Season with more crushed red pepper and salt, if needed.
  4. In the mean time bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook it according to instructions. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water and drain again.
  5. Add pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Add remaining half of bacon (cooked and drained of fat). Season with more salt if necessary. Slice the remaining 2/3 of chicken into thin strips. To serve, top the pasta with chicken strips and grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

NOTE: Based on numerous comments, I have corrected the amount of crushed red pepper flakes from 1 tablespoon to 1/4, maximum 1/2 teaspoon. Also, as I was correcting this, I realized that my recipe originally said "crushed red pepper", and it should've said "crushed red pepper FLAKES". This correction is made on March 9, 2016.

http://juliasalbum.com/2015/02/chicken-and-bacon-pasta-with-spinach-and-tomatoes-in-garlic-cream-sauce/

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{ 159 comments… add one }
  • Monique February 26, 2015, 4:33 pm

    Julia..I am making a chicken dish for dinner..my mise en place is done..I would have made yours instead!

  • Thao @ In Good Flavor February 26, 2015, 10:32 pm

    I saw this on BlogHer and wanted to stop by to say it looks delicious!

  • You are an expert making the nutritious and colourful dishes. This looks so good!

  • Shashi at RunninSrilankan February 27, 2015, 9:44 am

    Oooh – you had me at bacon…and then again at chicken…and then again at crushed red pepper…

  • Matt February 27, 2015, 8:23 pm

    Looks delicious!

    • Linda Boyce February 1, 2016, 10:10 pm

      Absolutely Fantastic , my husband and I loved it ( and he is hard to please) couldnt get a better entee at a class one restaurant, have a salad and some good bread. Wala !!
      Will definitely use this recipe a lot, thank you so much

  • Kg March 5, 2015, 8:34 pm

    We made this tonight and it was fabulous! Mine definitely didn’t look as pretty as yours though!

    • Julia May 2, 2015, 11:58 pm

      Thank you – you’re definitely very sweet! 🙂

  • Heather March 22, 2015, 6:50 pm

    This looks amazing! Did you use fresh or frozen spinach?

    • Julia May 2, 2015, 11:58 pm

      I used fresh spinach. Frozen will work too as long as you drain it really well.

  • SUSANA April 3, 2015, 3:20 pm

    Trying this tonight! thank you so much!!

  • Jay April 16, 2015, 12:44 pm

    It looks like you have great recipes on here and I”m excited to tryt hem.

    And your pictures are great.

    However, maybe try to add not as many photos or shrink them a little bit? I’m on an older computer and it can’t handle eveno ne tab open of your page without crashing. =0(

  • Kayla Markin April 27, 2015, 8:34 pm

    Are you supposed to cook the bacon before adding it to the mix? I cut up raw bacon and added it and my sauce is done but the bacon Is still looking kind of raw.

    • Julia May 2, 2015, 11:57 pm

      Yes, you’re supposed to cook the bacon before adding to the mix. I corrected the recipe. The bacon should be cooked and drained of fat before you add it.

    • Avary Doyle April 6, 2016, 3:41 am

      To save time, I baked the bacon (400° 20-25 minutes) while I did the prep work of chopping everything so all I had to was just add it. I would also recommend starting your pasta when you add the tomatoes, spinach, garlic, etc. That way your pasta will be done approximately the same time as the sauce. Definitely a crowd favorite tonight at dinner! Also I used fine chopped spinach because that’s what I had on hand. I would recommend the larger chopped spinach if your aiming to look like the photos and not look like a pesto sauce, lol!! Most definitely adding this to my recipe binder and will be a repeat offender in our family!!!

  • John April 27, 2015, 9:35 pm

    Our family enjoyed this chicken/pasta dish. Next time I make it I will pound the chicken breasts a bit and use only 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper (make it more kid-friendly).

  • Unimpressed April 27, 2015, 10:40 pm

    Like the others I thought I would try this recipe. Chicken bacon spinach? Alright!

    Unfortunately the instructions were poorly written. Is the bacon precooked? Mine ended up soggy and yucky. The photos do not appear to utilize 5 large tomatoes. I had to cook mine down since there was so much liquid. Also reserving half of the spinach is not something you are informed of beforehand. At the end I had no more to add in when it was called for. Additionally the recipe calls to add half of the raw soggy uncooked bacon but when praytell do I add the other half?

    I believe the recipe has potential but desperately needs revisions.

    On the plus side DH scarfed 2 bowls and said he liked it and would eat it again.

    • Julia May 2, 2015, 11:57 pm

      Yes, the bacon should be already cooked and drained of fat – thank you for bringing this to my attention. I corrected the recipe.

  • Jan April 30, 2015, 5:06 pm

    I made this tonight and made “common sense” changes to the original recipe. I fried the chicken and herbs. Then fried the bacon (all of it) along with the garlic, tomatoes etc so everything was cooked. then added the cream and Parmesan. it was delicious and I will make it again. You just need to use your initiative along with the incomplete instructions!!

  • Shanti May 12, 2015, 6:54 pm

    I made this dish tonight and it tasted so delicious… the only thing was that my sauce didn’t turn out as creamy as I thought it would be, it was more watery. What could be wrong? Should I simmer the sauce a little longer? or add more parm cheese? I used Locatelli cheese, could that be the problem? Anyway, I would definitely make this again, it was fast and simple to make, all the ingredients I have on hand and my son absolutely loved it!

  • Shell May 13, 2015, 9:09 am

    you don’t need to fry the chicken to have it be tasty! I seared it in a very hot pan as prok chop and finished the chicken off in the oven and it was moist and juicy and full of flavor as I had marinated it beforehand. this was sh a good recipe, I used the seared chicken juice with all that flavour in it and my family went nuts thanks for the post!!

  • Krysta May 19, 2015, 5:42 pm

    can you substitute the Parmesan cheese for anything? Butter maybe?

  • Emily May 19, 2015, 7:11 pm

    Can you use just bacon bits?

  • Sandra :) May 21, 2015, 6:44 pm

    WOW this was good! My neighbour sent me a pin yesterday for the recipe and since it looked like something my guys would enjoy plus I had all the ingredients (the ones i was going to use, anyways – I made a few changes :D) I whipped it up tonight. It was a HIT. I did it almost like a one pot meal, eliminating some of the separate assembly steps. This is going right into my recipe rotation – it wasn’t the quickest meal to make but once all the ingredients were prepped, it went quickly (and I’m sure next time around I won’t be checking the directions every 2.7 seconds :D). Thanks for a great recipe – I’m going to poke around your site and see what else catches my eye 🙂

  • Adam May 28, 2015, 10:07 pm

    I agree with John…recipe is great but 1 tbsp of crushed red pepper is way too much! I used more of all the other ingredients to make a bigger batch, but still only used 1 tbsp of the crushed pepper, and it was so spicy that the other nice flavors were drowned out, and my wife could hardly eat any of it. I will make this again, but use only 1/4 that amount of pepper.

  • Rigora June 8, 2015, 10:58 am

    I wasn’t quite sure what to do with tonight’s chicken, but now I know! I look forward to making this for dinner! 🙂

  • Jean Brooker June 13, 2015, 2:24 pm

    Hi I made your pasta dish tonight but little disappointed as to what half and half is as nowhere in the recipe does it say what or how to make this . It did turn out ok but would just like to make the half n half .

    • Alicia July 7, 2015, 1:31 pm

      Half and half is half cream , half milk. It can be bought at most grocery stores.

  • Christelle Agresti June 18, 2015, 4:12 am

    Pls advise what 1 and 1/3 cups half and half is. Is it full cream. Just want to make sure before I make this tonight.

    Thanks

  • laura June 23, 2015, 2:07 am

    What’s half and half?

  • Tricia June 25, 2015, 5:07 pm

    i didn’t add bacon but stuck to the rest of the recipe. Very delicious! Will make again.

  • Lindsay June 28, 2015, 7:53 pm

    Made this tonight, used milk and flour instead of cream and added some balsamic vinegar. It was delicious!!!!! Highly recommend.

  • Veto June 29, 2015, 8:38 pm

    Just wanted to chime in here since we just finished having this for dinner. I followed the directions to a T…20 strips of bacon and 2+ cups of cheese. Yeah baby! Seriously guys, no way to overdo these 2. This is. Ridiculously good. Maybe next time I’ll add more chicken too. Yum!

  • Katie July 2, 2015, 2:33 pm

    All your pastas look incredible. I made this recipe the other night and it was a delicious! I used chicken sausage instead of chicken (that’s just what I had in the fridge) and it tasted great. The only downside was that the sauce made the bacon, spinach and sausage all stick together in clumps. Other than that extra step of separating everything, it was great. Thanks!

  • lluvia July 2, 2015, 4:51 pm

    would it be possible to use heavy cream instead since I have that in my kitchen… or cream of mushroom?

  • Marilyn July 12, 2015, 3:19 pm

    Oh my God, this was so fantastic and great comfort food ☺ I did cut back on the cayenne for my kids, but I am sure it would be delicious the way it was written. I saw some reviews about the directions not being clear. I had no problems with them, I think they were written just fine. The second time I made it, I added a yellow pepper and mushrooms just to see how it would taste….yum. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It will be a regular in my house! Five young boys and none of them complained, that means it was awesome!

  • S Dorman July 14, 2015, 10:03 pm

    It was good. Just needed a little more flavor – I added onion salt.

  • Allysa July 17, 2015, 9:46 am

    So I made this last night and it didn’t turn out quite right I don’t think. I’m not sure what I did wrong….I added the half/half, brought it to a boil, added the parmesan (and I added Romano also), reduced to simmer, and stirred. But the cheese didn’t really melt into a creamy sauce. It stuck itself to all of the chicken pieces instead. What did I do wrong?

    • stacie March 6, 2016, 6:31 pm

      Use shredded instead of grated this happened the first time I made this .. used shredded and it worked so much better.

  • Cherie deLeon July 19, 2015, 5:51 pm

    Oh, wow! This looks amazing!! I can’t wait to make it, my kids love pasta and I have run out of ideas. Thanks!

  • Tonya L July 28, 2015, 1:45 am

    This looks yummy. I think I’ll try with sundried tomatoes.

  • Davon August 2, 2015, 4:45 am

    Looking forward to making this recipe tonight. Under the ingredients after, 6 bacon
    what is ‘1 and 1/3 cups half and half’ of what? Please clarify this. Thanks!

  • Kristen August 6, 2015, 7:52 pm

    This recipe was amazing but the ads were so annoying! I couldn’t keep the recipe at the spot I was at, it kept jumping back to the top of the page because of an ad.

  • Monica August 7, 2015, 3:29 am

    Hello. I made this tonight but was disappointed because my sauce was watery and the parm cheese got melted into a Blob with the chicken spinach and tomatoes. I followed everything correctly I am not sure why the parm cheese did not melt Into the sauce. Any ideas where I went wrong? Thanks.

  • Eleisha August 20, 2015, 6:40 am

    This recipe was great… The only thing was the crushed red pepper… I used Cajun seasoning instead… This recipe is something that would make a great date night recipe… The prep time make for a great conversation starter…

  • Shelley August 29, 2015, 2:03 pm

    Im sorry but this recipe really didn’t work. I followed it perfectly and it just turned out clumpy and watery and wayyyyyy too spicy.

  • Von August 31, 2015, 10:11 pm

    Made this tonight…absolutely delicious!!
    Here are my tweaks to the recipe. Used a little container of grape tomatoes, sliced in half. Used fresh spinach. Added one large shallot, minced. Red pepper was one teaspoon. (Still very hot). Used grated parmesan cheese, no shredded. (A good pre-grated store bought).
    I fried my bacon until crisp in a large pan. Drained all the grease out (bacon on paper towels to drain). I added 2 T. olive oil to this pan and sautéed chicken as directed. Put on plate. Then I added the minced shallot and garlic…cooked this over low heat a few minutes, added the tomatoes…a couple of minutes more cooking. Added the fresh spinach. Stirred until wilted…added red pepper. Then added 1/3 of the bacon, crumbled. Stirred.
    Added the half/half…brought to a low boil and then added the grated parmesan cheese by just sprinkling it evenly over the mixture. I didn’t really stir it…just pushed around and incorporated it into the half/half. Just for 2 minutes.
    I had precooked my pasta, so I added the penne pasta to the sauce. Gently mixed until it was covered. (No heat). Added the remaining crisp bacon crumbles. I put the lid back on the skillet at this point to keep everything warm while I sliced the chicken.
    I thinly sliced the two chicken breasts. I did not add to the pasta and sauce but scooped the pasta into bowls and topped with the sliced chicken (still warm) and sprinkled with a tiny bit more of grated cheese.
    Yum, yum, yum!!!
    This will become a well used recipe when we are in the mood for comfort food!!
    Thanks Julia!!

  • Terri Jones September 1, 2015, 11:30 am

    Hi there!
    I made this recipe last night and the hubby and kids really enjoyed it. I will be making it again.
    I did want to bring this to your attention. The recipe calls for shredded and grated parmesan cheese. However, in the written directions, step 4 and step 5 both state to add grated parmesan~ there’s no mention of when to add the shredded.
    I figured it out a little late but both were added and the dish was great.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Amanda September 1, 2015, 2:21 pm

    I made this for my family (2 adults, a 4 year old, and 10 year old). The 4 year old wound up having plain noodles because I could not feed this to her. A tablespoon of red pepper is WAY to much! My husband and older daughter love spicy food and they put hot sauce on almost everything. I made myself a very small bowl because I do not do spicy. I had a hard time eating any of it but didn’t want to waste it. I shoveled in as much as I could stand and then washed it down with milk and garlic bread. My husband and daughter even said it was too spicy for them. I added another 3/4 cup of half and half to the left overs (of which there were many) hoping to tone down the spices and take it to work for lunch. I heated it up today and found the even adding all the extra half and half there is still no hope for this overly spicy dish. The pepper covered up all the delicious flavors and I felt like i wasted money on all of those other fresh wonderful ingredients since all you could taste was pepper. I’ve never cooked with red pepper flakes and was hesitant to put that much in, but since that’s what the recipe called for I added it. I should have listened to my gut. I may make this again, but I would completely omit the red pepper. There’s just no need for it.

    • Amber December 28, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Wish I had read other comments before making. I completely agree 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes is WAY too much. I couldn’t hardly taste anything else because of the overpowering red pepper flakes. I think it’d be good if that was reduced a bit, though.

      • Tiffany Brekoda January 26, 2016, 11:17 pm

        Just to echo what so many said, this calls for way too much red pepper. There are also unneeded steps and could be simplified in many ways. First, you don’t need to cook chunks of seasoned chicken; you end up losing all the spices in the watery juices and secondly you’re told to remove the chicken, slice up more and put it back. To simplify, just pre-bake the chicken (or boil or however you want to cook it) and just shred or slice it and put it in the pan, THEN season, etc. The spinach, cooked bacon and everything just gets tossed in. Also DO NOT use that much red pepper. My good sense said it was wrong but I trusted the recipe without reading the comments. My bad. I would just skip the stuff honestly because table pepper is much better for this kind of recipe, and probably around 1/2 tsp. I ended up drinking tons of water with my meal, and the leftovers were doused in milk to make it palatable. Not well written or practical, I’d say this was a 1/10.

  • Kori September 3, 2015, 10:05 pm

    I saw this thought I have to give it a try and I will. I’m going to cut the chicken into bite size pieces though for my one year old. I can’t wait to try this.

  • Amanda September 12, 2015, 9:56 pm

    Can I use sun dried tomatoes instead? I don’t like a lot of tomatoes in my pasta and where is the garlic part I don’t see it in the recipe?

  • Dawny September 15, 2015, 9:48 pm

    I am constantly looking for new dishes to try so I came across this one and have been wanting to try it. Well tonight I made it and I must say it is absolutely delicious!! I will back off a little bit on the crushed red pepper next time, but other than that i wouldn’t change a thing. I cant wait to try some of the other recipes on this site. Thank you Julia..

  • Joy September 18, 2015, 5:27 pm

    This dish was fantastic!!! I did not have fresh tomatoes, so I used 2 cans of diced tomatoes (drained). Also, I used fresh, raw spinach and wilted it with the tomato/garlic mixture. So delicious!!

  • Heidi September 21, 2015, 4:27 pm

    Delicious! Please correct the recipe- there is no way it can be 1 Tablespoon of red pepper. 1 teaspoon of red pepper gives it a strong kick- even for this Louisiana girl. Any more than that and it drowns out the flavor. You may also want to clarify how you cook your spinach. Do you sautée or steam it? Also, it takes way more than 20 minutes to prepare. Otherwise, great dish!!

  • Dani September 22, 2015, 7:59 am

    I made this last night and it was soooo good! My picky italian fiance actually liked it. Due to my exhaustion of being super pregnant, I did a few things different. I didn’t add as much red pepper because of not liking things super hot. I added two pinches of it and it still had a kick and I also used frozen peas instead of spinach (because I completely forgot to grab spinach at the store) and slightly cheated by using a can of diced tomatoes instead of the fresh ones. Still beyond good! Thanks for posting it!

  • Nayeli September 29, 2015, 8:46 pm

    I made this and it was way too watery. Next time I’ll just use 1 cup of half and half. I don’t like watery soupy pasta. :\

  • Elainie September 30, 2015, 6:19 pm

    I added grated mozzarella to this dish and it was fantastic

  • Teresa from PA October 1, 2015, 3:17 pm

    I have made this recipe twice. My family loves it. It is definitely a weekly must!! Or maybe every two weeks. But anyways awesome recipe. My husband refuses to eat spinach but he didn’t mind at all with this recipe.

  • Andrea October 1, 2015, 7:11 pm

    Hi!! Made this recipe before but just noticed that in the picture directions is says to use 1 1/3 cup grated and then 1/2 cup of grated parm. When do u use the shredded?? Want to make this again tonight.

  • Kim Quintanilla October 6, 2015, 8:21 pm

    This was delishious! I agree– next time I’m only using a pinch of red pepper. But my family loves spicy.

  • Janel October 11, 2015, 3:58 pm

    I made this last night, and it was delicious!
    My husband (I’d call him a “distinguished” eater, who is never afraid to critique everything I cook/bake )was blown away. He actually said he thought it was something he’d order in a restaurant. 🙂
    We are babies when it comes to heat, so I only used 1/2 the pepper flakes. We both thought it was still a little hot, but wonderful! I’ll make this again for sure, and plan to share your recipe. Thanks!

  • Stephanie October 21, 2015, 8:59 am

    Hi, im just wondering if it is possible to make the “half and half ” from scratch? Or can i subtitute with something else? Cause i do not have that “half and half” here in my country. Thankyouuu

    • Tom February 12, 2016, 1:51 pm

      Heavy whipping cream

  • Tara October 25, 2015, 8:48 pm

    Finally had the chance to make this tonight for my family & wowie was it a hit! Spicy, a little tangy from the tomatoes & pasta! Yum! I used turkey bacon.

  • Meagan October 26, 2015, 5:48 pm

    I have made this twice now and my family absolutely loves it!! It is delicious!! The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly. This time, I added chopped onion and mushrooms that I had sauteed. Perfect!! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Michelle L. October 31, 2015, 12:02 pm

    This came out SO good! I made it dairy free by using Tofutti cream cheese and Earth Balance butter (maybe a half cup each) instead of the cream. Great recipe, thank you!

  • Ali November 3, 2015, 9:50 am

    Just tried this last night. Not impressed. Just proves my theory that no Pinterest recipe should ever be trusted.

    • Tessa January 4, 2016, 11:51 pm

      We felt the same way. This looked gorgeous, and we were excited to taste it, but it tasted bland. Not sure what happened. Maybe it will taste better reheated, as pasta often does.

  • Jodie December 30, 2015, 2:58 pm

    What is half and half?

    • Dawn January 8, 2016, 9:36 pm

      Half-and-half is a dairy product sold in the U.S. that we use as creamer in our coffee. It’s cream that’s a little lower in fat than heavy whipping cream. You can substitute heavy cream for half-and-half. It will make your sauce thick and creamy.

    • jody February 1, 2016, 8:08 pm

      an established portion (like 1 quart of half and half) is 1 pint of milk and 1 pint of heavy cream. 1 quart = 2 pints ( half of amount is milk and the other half is heavy cream).

    • Anne February 16, 2016, 7:39 pm

      It’s half milk and half cream.
      Some also call it coffee cream 😉
      Hope this helps!
      (About 10% milk )

  • kendale January 5, 2016, 11:26 pm

    I made this tonight but with a few changes to fit my diet. I used canned low sodium petite diced tomatoes instead of the large slices. I also used Barilla Protein Penne Pasta to up the protein content. I also used precooked chicken since I was in a bit of a rush.
    It came out soooo good! My husband (who is a bit picky when it comes to vegetables in his food ::eye roll::) absolutely LOVED it!!

  • Dawn January 8, 2016, 9:18 pm

    I made this tonight. I substituted a bag of fresh baby spinach for the cooked spinach, but otherwise I followed the recipe. The chicken was surprisingly tender and tasty. The flavor was very good, but for some reason, the parmesan separated from the half-and-half. I’m not sure why. I’ve made many sauces (including alfredo) using half-and-half and parmesan, and that’s never happened before. Oh, well. It was still yummy.

  • Caitlynn January 15, 2016, 9:36 pm

    Help! I made this tonight and I could not get the sauce to be creamy. It was straight up liquid. What did I do wrong? I left the olive oil in the pot when I added the tomatoes and everything. Are you supposed to leave the oil? Also I would use less crushed red peppers. My poor husband had to take some tums lol but he did have seconds

  • Daniel January 16, 2016, 8:19 pm

    I’m not the type of person to comment on stuff like this, but this is delicious. I don’t know how you came up with the recipe but you either need a Nobel prize or a prison sentence( cause it’s so good it should be illegal). Made it as is.

  • Jessica January 18, 2016, 4:48 pm

    Has anyone tried to make extras and freeze in a pan for meal prep for a baby shower gift? This looks delicous and I would much rather have this on hand in my deep freezer than ordering pizza hut pasta meal for convienance. Thanks y’all!

  • Nicole January 23, 2016, 9:22 pm

    Hi, I made this and it was very simple to do. My only complaint is it was WAY too spicy 🙁 so bad that we barely wanted to finish it without downing a couple of glasses of milk. Kinda disappointed. Not sure if it was supposed to be this spicy or not…Im sure I followed the recipe exactly. Will be making again though, but without the crushed red pepper.
    Thank you!!

  • TAI January 24, 2016, 10:01 pm

    I liked the dish, it was easy to do. I did notice when reading the directions the recipe asked for grated and shredded cheese. But the instructions only asked for grated cheese to be added with the half/half and say a garnish. I don’t know if this was correct but I hope both being the same kind of cheese that it didn’t alter the taste.

  • carly January 25, 2016, 6:05 am

    what is half and half?

  • Jessica January 25, 2016, 7:39 am

    What does half and half mean? ive seen it a lot but don’t know what it means? lol im new to cooking 🙂

  • Amanda January 25, 2016, 6:26 pm

    We like spicy at our house and found this almost toover hot to handle. Cut back the red pepper!

  • bek January 26, 2016, 3:01 am

    Can someone please tell me what its meant by ‘half and half’?-

  • Melissa January 26, 2016, 5:01 am

    I live in Australia and have never heard of ‘half and half’ what could i use as a substitute please? Can’t wait to make this, looks so yummy!

  • Renee Johnson January 27, 2016, 2:50 pm

    I made this for my family night before last. Everyone loved it…even the picky ones. So flavourful! Thank you for posting this:)

  • Andrea January 27, 2016, 4:39 pm

    What’s half and half?

  • Maureen Nauyokas January 28, 2016, 12:05 pm

    I made this last night and everyone loved it. A little spicy for the kids but they still ate and just added more cheese. Thanks!

  • Ed January 29, 2016, 6:27 pm

    Made the chicken, bacon, and pasta dish. Any idea on the calories per serving?

  • Leanne January 30, 2016, 9:18 pm

    Hi there, I also made this recipe last night and while it was delicious, the instructions were pretty woeful and I’m really glad I read it through a couple of times and planned ahead. I also made a few common sense changes to your recipe. Only little things, like we don’t have half n half in Aus, so I substituted, and I didn’t use the paprika. I have now re written the steps for making this so it makes sense in the end and will definitely be making this again. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • LC January 31, 2016, 6:12 pm

    Just made this tonight and the family loved it. The only issue I had was that the cheese stuck to the spinach (I used fresh and never cut it up) and made a clumpy mess – it was still tasty, though! Next time, I’m going to make the sauce part FIRST, and add the spinach at the last minute. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Michelle January 31, 2016, 7:04 pm

    I have very picky family but they gave the okay to try this dish. I substituted mozzarella cheese in lieu of parm cheese and added sun dried tomatoes. OMG – they LOVED it!!!! My son even wanted 2 & 3 helpings! . All ingredients complimented each other nicely and was perfect!! Soooo delicious. Thank you for your recipe!

  • Kristen January 31, 2016, 7:56 pm

    This was a big hit in my house! Definitely a keeper and one will I make often. Tasted like something I would order in a restaurant.

  • Shawn February 1, 2016, 1:29 pm

    I found this recipe on FB and saved it for later. Soo glad I did! It was a quick, easy and delish meal. Hubby raved about it. I added Kale (as I LOVE leafy green vegs) and it wasn’t overwhelming even though the recipe calls for spinach as well. I served it with white wine but the creamy texture and spice can hold its own with a mild red wine as well. I hope Hubby works late so that I can have leftovers tonight plus lunch on tomorrow…lol..but I’m serious!!!

  • Sara February 1, 2016, 8:42 pm

    Tried this tonight….the entire family loved it!!!! My daughter said it was a little spicy so I might add a little less red pepper next time, but this is a new favorite!!!

  • Diane February 4, 2016, 12:40 pm

    I am curious as to why you add 1/3 of the chicken in the middle of the recipe and not all at one time?

  • Mary Barrett-King February 6, 2016, 9:51 pm

    I made the chicken and bacon pasta with spinach and tomatoes!
    Wow it was delicious ! My husband had two helpings! I did substitute the fresh tomatoes with diced canned and drained since I didn’t have fresh. Also used pecorino – Romano cheese, and used frozen spinach.
    I give it 5 stars. Feb 2016

  • Leslie February 8, 2016, 6:17 pm

    I made this tonight for dinner and it came out perfect. I reduced the amount of red pepper to 1tsp and it was still too spicy for my kids (though they ate it), so I will completely omit next time. I also forgot to add the garlic, and I’m sure it would be even more amazing had I remembered. On my second helping now. Thanks!

  • Candy Fletchr February 8, 2016, 7:26 pm

    I made this tonight and it was awesome. If you don’t like it too spicy just cut down on the red crushed pepper. You have to try it

  • David February 8, 2016, 8:47 pm

    Made this recipe tonight. It was excellent. I added spicey italian sausage as I didn’t have bacon. Precooked of course. I also used grape tomatoes roasted in the oven with some garlic as I don’t like simply frying fresh tomatoes. The rest was the same as the recipe and it turned out perfect.

  • Jane Dancey February 11, 2016, 1:48 am

    What is half and half?

  • Kizzy February 11, 2016, 4:21 pm

    I made this tonight…. All I had was frozen Kale/Edamame/Carrot/Red Pepper Mix, so I skipped the crushed red pepper; other than that I followed exactly. Delicious! Thank you!

  • CArolyn February 14, 2016, 1:55 pm

    this was absolutely fantastic! I did make a few changes however. I deleted the chicken, Added mushrooms and substituted canned tomatoes Will definitely be making this again soon!
    Love love love!

  • Elaine February 14, 2016, 10:59 pm

    Made this for Valentine’s lunch with my sweetie. It was great – quick & easy. I used 2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes & LOTS of garlic. I also added a couple sliced roasted, red pepper. I use Dreamfields® pasta to reduce the carbs. He requested I add this dish to or regular dinner rotation.

  • Jeffrey February 14, 2016, 11:47 pm

    What do you mean by “Italian spices”

  • Anne February 16, 2016, 6:52 pm

    Made this tonight as per recipe… It was great!
    The next time I might add a bit of cornstarch or flour in the half & half to thicken it up just a little. None the less, it was great as it was 😉
    Thank you!

  • Alissa February 16, 2016, 8:10 pm

    Amazing!!!! Seriously one of the best things I’ve made! But thank goodness I read through the comments and didn’t use as much crushed red pepper! 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon is plenty!

  • mm February 20, 2016, 7:28 pm

    I made this tonight and it was delicious, except that the recipe calls for way too much crushed red pepper . I only put in 1/2 Tablespoon and even that was way too much. Next time I make it (and I will make it again because other than the pepper, the favors were great!) I will eliminate the crushed red pepper and have it on the table in case anyone wants to add spice. Also, this recipe too way longer than 20 minutes to put together!

  • cathy February 21, 2016, 7:41 pm

    Just made this and after making a few changes this was great. Will definitely make again. Changes were I cut up raw chicken in small pieces and put in a mixing bowl and rubbed in seasoning adding a lot of Italian seasoning and adding salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, Cajun seasoning, thyme, lemon pepper & red crushed pepper. Then fry. Also I added a little chicken broth and mozzarella cheese. Once all combined I added to casserole dish, added more cheeses and baked till bubbly. Use more spinach it shrinks when cooking. Loved this recipe

  • Kristen February 22, 2016, 12:29 am

    Any recommendations on reheating this if I wanted to make it ahead for the sake of time?

  • Loretta February 23, 2016, 11:54 am

    Just made this. Had to use milk and cream. Unable to get 1/2 n 1/2! It was delicious! The whole family enjoyed it and they’re hard to please. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Timothy February 23, 2016, 2:33 pm

    Tried this today, turned out great though I changed some things like I think a lot of people had. After reading through the recipe I could tell a tablespoon of red pepper flakes was exorbitant, I put it down to a tsp and it was perfect. I also used fresh raw spinach and it still ended up cooking in so that worked great as well. Paired this with some easy French parmesan bread and had an amazing lunch

  • Jennifer March 2, 2016, 3:43 pm

    If you drink coffee, you should know what Half and Half is.
    My Lord at those comments where people are asking what 1 and 1/3 of Half and Half is. So funny.

    • Kate June 12, 2016, 3:15 am

      Well to be fair, people only know what half and half is if they live in the U.S or Canada. But quickly browsing through comments first usually finds an answer, or take 2 seconds to google it.

  • Sandy Wonnacott March 2, 2016, 4:00 pm

    I made this tonight omitting the crushed red peppers as I couldn’t find this in UK, but chopped a red pepper and crushed it with a steak hammer-lush! Thank you for this recipe, it went down well with crusty bread.

  • Sherry March 2, 2016, 5:13 pm

    I really wish I would have read comments before I made this. It was WAYYYYYY too spicy. Also it took way longer to make than it said. I will definitely omit the red pepper flakes next time. Can’t taste the bacon or the garlic or really anything for that matter. I think it will be a really delicious dish without the extreme spice!

  • Sharon Gudka-Befort March 7, 2016, 8:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is a wonderful meal for those very busy nights or if you want to impress friends. I made a couple changes. I used Montreal Steak Seasoning instead of the Italian seasonings & paprika. And I added all of the chicken & bacon at the same time. My husband & I enjoyed it very much. Yummy!

  • Jessica March 9, 2016, 6:07 pm

    This was delicious! I made it without the chicken or bacon though. We’re trying to cut down on meat. Yum yum!

  • Melissa Veltri March 10, 2016, 2:08 pm

    What wine would you recommend to go with this? Sounds delicious!

  • Vivian March 10, 2016, 10:50 pm

    I made this tonight and it was Delish!! Wish I could post a pic

  • Sharon March 12, 2016, 10:08 pm

    Made this tonight and it was delicious! The only thing I added were mushrooms because we love them in pasta dishes. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. Will definitely make this one again!

  • Jessica Lavey March 17, 2016, 2:53 am

    I made the creamy garlic chicken and bacon pasta and my husband loved it! It was a little too spicy for me (but still so delicious) but I will remember to adjust that a little next time. It’s just my hubby and I, so I froze two containers of this. I sat one out in the fridge last night to defrost and now I’m wondering how you might recommend heating it back up for dinner? Thanks!! 🙂

  • Kathi Petersen March 22, 2016, 1:09 pm

    Love the recipe! It’s funny, I read it thinking “1/4 teaspoon of chile flakes, really? How can this be possible?” Funny to read your comment under the recipe. It’s a great recipe, but it needs the 1 tablespoon chile flakes plus!! Thanks for your great work …

  • Ariana March 23, 2016, 9:20 pm

    Do you think the half and half can be substituted with coconut milk?

  • Nia March 24, 2016, 2:46 pm

    I made this today and it was a HUGE hit! My husband loved it. The only change I made was instead of using regular tomatoes, I used Italian Basil sun-dried tomatoes. It was pure perfection!

  • Wendy April 4, 2016, 1:06 pm

    Has anyone used a jar of Alfredo sauce instead of making the sauce ?

  • Kitchen Godess April 8, 2016, 5:43 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight …Omg delish!!
    My house smells amazing .I’m excited for leftovers!!!

  • keeley April 9, 2016, 1:59 pm

    Hey Julia! I was curious what measurement you considered a serving for this? 1 cup? 2 cups? Please let me know asap, I’m using this recipe for a school project!

    • Julia May 25, 2016, 7:35 pm

      Keely, there are 4 servings in this recipe, so I would say 1 cup or 1 and 1/2 cups of pasta + everything else per serving.

  • Gina R April 23, 2016, 9:35 am

    Wow, this looks amazing. Dishes like this make me crave pasta. This looks like a great Mother’s Day meal.

    • Julia May 25, 2016, 7:34 pm

      Thank you! And, it’s very easy to make, too, which is great for any holiday dish!

  • Shane May 21, 2016, 12:31 pm

    Made this tonight and while it was pretty tasty it never thickened. We don’t have half and half in the uk so I combined 210ml of single cream and 105ml of full fat milk. Think that was why? Added all the Parmesan and it never made much difference, should it be simmered for a longer time?

    • Julia May 25, 2016, 7:32 pm

      Shane, what you combined should’ve worked. Did the cheese melt? There is enough cheese in the recipe to make the sauce creamy, given other measurements. Did you heat up the cream and full fat milk to a boiling point and then add the cheese and watch the cheese boil and melt and blend? Let me know. Julia.

    • Julia May 25, 2016, 8:38 pm

      Shane, I did more research, and turns out single cream in the UK is the equivalent of half and half in the US. So, that’s why your sauce had a hard time thickening – you should’ve used all of single cream AND BRING IT TO BOIL, ADD CHEESE, AND WATCH IT BUBBLE AND MELT FOR 30 SECONDS, then reduce heat to simmer.
      Also, alternatively, you can make American half and half by mixing half double cream and half regular milk (if you live in the UK).

  • maria May 23, 2016, 10:38 am

    The spinach looks so good and delicious, thanks for sharing with us these pictures and detailed recipe.

    • Julia May 25, 2016, 7:31 pm

      Thank you, Maria!

  • lisa redding May 29, 2016, 6:01 pm

    This looks like a beautiful pasta recipe and I have everything in the fridge. So it is on the menu for tomorrow.
    I would have liked to stay and browsed. Except your site was moving so slow. I had to keep xing out ads. I know that is how you earn some money. But,it was extremely annoying . When I printed my recipe it had a ad right over the top left corner. Craziness.
    Sorry to complain.

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 6:57 pm

      Thank you for adding my pasta recipe to your menu! 🙂 I hope you enjoyed it!

  • Alma June 10, 2016, 6:55 am

    I found this recipe and saved it to my pasta list as I knew that it sounded like something that my husband and I would love…and it is! I made it tonight it was perfect, so delicious and quite filling, actually.

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 6:55 pm

      Happy to hear that you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Jenn June 12, 2016, 5:22 pm

    I make this recipe all the time and the Hubby and I LOVE it. He doesn’t like spinach so I add broccoli instead. We actually like it spicy so I add extra red pepper flakes. For those that are complaining about it being too spicy. You CAN adjust it to your liking, it’s really simple to do….just add LESS or none at all. The recipe is perfect the way it is. YUMMY!!

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 6:55 pm

      Thank you, Jen, so glad you liked it! I like it on the spicier side, too. 🙂

  • Mandy July 5, 2016, 9:00 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I added some chopped green onions in as well. I will definitely make this again. I highly recommend this recipe!!

    • Julia July 8, 2016, 1:54 pm

      Thank you, Mandy, so glad you liked the recipe! I love chopped green onions – they are a great topping for just about any dinner or salad!

  • Cathy July 10, 2016, 8:22 pm

    I am looking forward to making this for dinner tomorrow but I do need clarification on the spinach. The step-by-step instructions say to add it after sautéing the chicken; however, the ingredients say 1 cup spinach cooked. It says cook the bacon but nothing mentions cooking the spniach ahead. I have fresh spinach, can I add it in after sautéing the chicken or does it need to be cooked ahead.

  • Tiffiany Johnson July 13, 2016, 9:27 pm

    I love this dish and my family loves it too! It’s become a regular at my house.

  • Lucille July 15, 2016, 10:57 pm

    Hi Julia, this recipe looks very good however we have food sensitivities and cannot have a cream sauce. Would you have any advice on how the recipe could be slightly altered so the pasta dish was made with tomato sauce? Thank you.

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