Chicken Bacon Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Tablespoon flour Optional
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, large in size
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning a combo of thyme, oregano, & basil
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 4 bacon strips
  • 10 oz. penne pasta

Garlic Parmesan Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 + 1/3 cups half and half
  • 1 + 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 cups spinach uncooked

Instructions

  1. Shred the Parmesan cheese and set it aside to allow it to get to room temperature. 
  2. Toss the cheese with ½ Tablespoon of flour. This is optional but will help the sauce remain smoothwhen the cheese is melted into it.
  3.  In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium-high heat.
  4.  Butterfly the chicken breast and cut the seam to create 2 thinner slices, each about an inch thick. Season each side generously with Italian seasoning and desired amounts of salt and pepper. 
  5. Sear the chicken in the hot skillet on each side. Refrain from moving the chicken around as it sizzles, it will hinder the nice golden sear color. If the pan gets too hot, reduce the heat to medium. Each side will take 3-5 minutes. Once each side is a nice, golden brown and the middle is cooked, set the chicken aside.
  6.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add the bacon to the same skillet. Low and slow is the best way to cook bacon.
  7. While the bacon cooks, prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  8.  Once the bacon is cooked and crisp on each side, use tongs to remove it from the pan. Leave 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan, and add the garlic. Cook for about 60 seconds.
  9. Increase the heat to medium and gradually add in the flour, whisking constantly.
  10. Temper the half and half by heating it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the half and half to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. Once it starts to lightly bubble, decrease the heat to low.
  11.  Slowly sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese, stirring as you do so.
  12.  Once well-combined, add the tomatoes, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes have softened slightly. Use a silicone spatula to gently mix in the penne.
  13.  Slice the chicken into strips and place it back in the pan, over the pasta. Sprinkle the top with bacon, and serve!

This article and recipe adapted from this site

Chicken Bacon Spinach Pasta
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