Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb chicken breasts
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
5 tomatoes (medium, chopped in large cubes)
1 cup of spinach cooked
5 garlic cloves minced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (crushed)
6 bacon stips (cooked, drained of fat, chopped)
1 1/3 cups half and half
1 1/3 cups parmesan cheese (Shredded)
10 oz penne pasta
½ cup parmesan cheese (Shredded for serving)
1 bag of fresh baby spinach
- 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 the 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.
- To the same pan (but without chicken), add chopped tomatoes, spinach, crushed red pepper, 1/3 of the chicken (sliced into small strips) and half the bacon (already cooked and drained of fat). Mix everything.
- 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 a minute. Then, immediately remove from heat. Season with more crushed red pepper and salt, if needed.
- In the meantime bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook it according to box instructions. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water and drain again.
- Add pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Add the 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.