Before I share this recipe with you I have a confession to make…the original recipe included bacon and I excluded it. However, there is no need to be alarmed because I also omitted spinach.
If the lack of bacon wasn’t a deal-breaker for you then you’ve got a scrumptious Italian pasta dinner to look forward to. I found the recipe at juliasalbum.com so if you had your heart set on chicken, pasta, bacon and spinach follow the link. For my simplified version of the dish you’ll need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chicken (chicken breast or tenders)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil – combined)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped in large cubes
1/4 green pepper (sliced)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 cup heavy whipping cream
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
First, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on high heat in a large skillet. As that heats, cut chicken breasts into small strips. Turn heat down to medium and sprinkle chicken with paprika and Italian seasoning. Cook chicken, covered on medium heat for several minutes. Once chicken is fully cooked, remove 2/3 of it from pan and set aside. (Try to keep it warm)
Add chopped tomatoes, minced garlic cloves, crushed red peppers and sliced green pepper to the remaining chicken in the pan. (In the meantime bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook accordingly.) Add heavy whipping cream and bring ingredients to a boil. Only after whipping cream has reached a boil, add parmesan. Reduce to simmer and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add cooked pasta and remaining chicken to skillet, stir, and enjoy!
P.S. The heavy whipping cream doesn’t stay fresh long after it’s opened. You can make whipped cream by adding powdered sugar or you can make a simple pasta dish by adding tomatoes and red pepper.