Creamy Chicken Bacon Pasta

Close-up of creamy penne with bacon and Parmesan with fork TipHero

There are all kinds of crazy, adventurous, brand-new recipes out there for dishes we’ve never had before and that we’re excited to try one day. Sometimes, though, all we really want – sometimes all anybody really needs – is a really good, really classic pasta dish. Enter: Creamy Chicken Bacon Pasta! This dish is packed full of everything we love when we’re having a rough day, or when we really just want some classic flavor combinations: penne pasta. Perfectly-seasoned chicken. Spinach and tomatoes. A creamy garlic cheese sauce to carry the taste of each component to every single part of the dish. Oh yes, and . . . bacon! There’s nothing flashy about this pasta, but it’s everything we could want when we need a colorful, tasty dinner at the end of a busy day. We’re betting you feel the same sometimes, so check it out and give Creamy Chicken Bacon Pasta a try!

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CREAMY CHICKEN BACON PASTA

Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (2 each), sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 ­½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 ­½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 4 to ­5 small tomatoes, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ­½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups Parmesan, shredded
  • 12 ounces penne, cooked al dente

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove, drain on a paper towel and chop. Drain grease from the pan and reserve.
  2. Add 2­ to 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease back to the pan. In batches, so as not to crowd the pan, add the sliced chicken and season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika and chili flakes. When the chicken is cooked and no longer pink, remove it from the pan and set aside. Continue cooking in batches until all the chicken is cooked and set aside.
  3. Add the spinach and tomatoes to the skillet and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  4. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, then add the Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Add the cooked pasta, chicken and bacon back into the skillet. Stir to evenly mix.
  6. Cooking penne pasta with chicken and baconTipHero
  7. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes to allow the sauce to absorb and thicken.
  8. Serve with additional shredded Parmesan and chili flakes, if desired.
Bowl of creamy chicken bacon pasta topped with ParmesanTipHero

Delicious, lovely, and when it comes down to it, pretty easy, too! We love that you only need one skillet to make this one, and that it seems like it’d be easily adaptable to your family’s needs. You could use turkey bacon, if you prefer, or if you’re vegetarian, take it out entirely! Gluten-free? Make it with brown rice penne pasta instead. The creamy sauce will make sure all the flavors of every ingredient permeate every single bite.

Fork next to bowl of creamy chicken bacon penne pastaTipHero

Now what do YOU think? Would you adapt this recipe, or do you think you’ll make it exactly as is? What other kinds of creamy sauces do you like to make for your pasta?

Overhead shot of bowl of creamy chicken bacon penneTipHero

Recipe adapted from Julia’s Album