My fiance and I created this dish for our Ugly Christmas Sweater Engagement Party. (Yes, we catered our own Engagement Party. It was challenging, yet rewarding.) We had a plethora of pasta dishes, but this was one of the night's favorites. Since it was so delicious we decided to cook it again just a week later. This is a great dish for a cozy family dinner or a romantic night in with one or two bottles of wine.😊 The creamy pasta paired with the salty bacon brings a burst or flavor in your mouth.
(Serves 4-6 people)
Meat & Protein
8 bacon strips
2 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (about 6, depending on the size)
3 Cups Fresh Spinach
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
1 tbsp Minced Garlic
Baking & Spices
½ tsp Salt (more, if desired)
1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper (more, if desired)
1 ½ tsp Garlic Powder
1 ½ tsp Italian Seasoning (more, if desired)
¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
4 sprigs Fresh Italian Parsley (chopped)
3 Cups of Water
1 ½” Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Pasta & Grains
10 oz. Box of Penne Pasta
Wash the Chicken Breast! Dry the chicken with paper towels and place on a flat pan or tray. Season the chicken with half of the Salt, Cracked Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Italian Seasoning. Set aside.
Place the Bacon on a flat baking sheet. Cook in the oven on 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes (or until it’s at the consistency you like). I like my bacon crunchy. 😊 Set the cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess grease. When cooled, crush the bacon into small pieces. Set aside until later.
Before cooking the chicken, start the pasta. Add 3 cups of water to a large pan. Add in 2 tbsps. of Vegetable Oil, and the remaining Salt. Bring the water to a boil and then add the Penne Pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente (not fully cooked). Drain and set aside.
Heat up a cast iron skillet, add Vegetable Oil, and cook the chicken. Make sure to sear both sides. Set the chicken aside on plate covered with foil. Let the chicken cool down and slice it on the bias (at a diagonal).
Add Heavy Cream, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Minced Garlic, and Parmesan Cheese to a large skillet on low-medium heat. Try to make sure the heat isn't too high so that your sauce doesn't break. If your sauce does start to break, you can whisk in a little bit of flour. When heated add Sliced Chicken Breast into the sauce. Use the other half of the seasonings to the sauce: Italian Seasoning, Cracked Black Pepper, and Garlic Powder.
Add in fresh spinach leaves, and the cooked Penne Pasta to the sauce. You may have to keep adding the Spinach as it will wilt down. Cook for 5 more minutes.
Slice the cherry tomatoes in halves and add to the sauce. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
When served, top the dish with Parmesan Cheese and Crushed Bacon.
Now you have something cooked from the SOUL. Serve it to the CULTURE!