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Chicken Pasta with Bacon, spinach, tomatoes

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

Chicken pasta recipes can get boring.  Not this Italian-inspired recipe!  You'll fall in love with the flavors in this Chicken Pasta with Bacon, Spinach, and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce.  Easy weeknight dinner that the whole family will love!  Sliced chicken breast and bacon are tossed with veggies and penne pasta in a delicious, creamy, homemade alfredo sauce made with Parmesan cheese.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 1028 kcal
Author Julia

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken (chicken breasts or tenderloins)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil - combined)
  • 5 tomatoes (medium, chopped in large cubes)
  • 1 cup spinach cooked
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes , crushed
  • 6 bacon strips , COOKED, DRAINED OF FAT, AND CHOPPED
  • 1 1/3 cups half and half
  • 1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese , shredded
  • 10 oz penne pasta (for gluten-free version, use gluten-free brown-rice penne)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese , shredded, for serving

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 shredded 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 shredded Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

WHAT IS HALF AND HALF? Substitute 1/2 cup of milk + 1/2 cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of half-and-half.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1028 Calories from Fat 531
% Daily Value*
Fat 59g91%
Saturated Fat 23g144%
Cholesterol 167mg56%
Sodium 1086mg47%
Potassium 1017mg29%
Carbohydrates 66g22%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 55g110%
Vitamin A 3070IU61%
Vitamin C 26.9mg33%
Calcium 692mg69%
Iron 3.5mg19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.