Sep 27, 2020

Chicken and Bacon Penne in Creamy Tomato Sauce

It seems like there were quite a number of last minute changes for my recent cooking plans. Early on I planned to make chicken and rice casserole, but couldn't find any cream of mushroom soup nor onion soup. So the meal changed to a totally different colorful roasted veggies with salmon instead. For this recipe, I was having troubles finding think-cut pancetta. Easier to solve the problem this time by simply switching from pancetta to thick-cut bacon instead. The flavor might not be 100% as I imagined, but it's bacon, of course the penne still taste pretty good.

Chicken and bacon penne in creamy tomato sauce -

Ingredients (about 6 portions)?

  • 1 pack/500 grams penne pasta
  • 2 pieces/350 grams chicken breast
  • 400 grams thick-cut bacon
  • 1 big box baby salad greens
  • 110 grams medium button mushrooms
  • 1 can/400 grams diced tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons mixed Italian seasoning
  • Some smoked paprika
  • Some salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 200ml heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley


Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Finely chop the parsley. Trim off the very end of button mushrooms. Grate the cheese. 

Season the chicken breasts with some salt and smoked paprika on both sides. Cut the bacon into medium sized pieces.

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add in few pinches of salt then cook the pasta till almost al-dente in texture. Once ready, drain and set aside for later use. 

Take another large pot or big pan with some depth, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Once the oil gets hot, add in seasoned chicken breasts. Sear till colored, flip and continue to sear the other side till slightly browned.

Remove the chicken and let it cool on the side. Once able to handle by hand, cut into bite size pieces.

Use the same pot and still using medium high heat. Add in all the bacon along with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Give it a quick stir once a while. Cook till some bacon fats start to render then add in chopped garlic, continue to cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Add in the mushrooms, baby salad greens, 1 more teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of mixed Italian seasoning. Cook for about 1 minute.

Pour in drained diced tomatoes along with heavy whipping cream. Also transfer the chicken back to the mixture. Bring the whole thing to a boil then lower the heat to keep at a simmer for up to couple minutes.

Mix in grated cheese. Add in penne and most of the chopped parsley. Mix and cook till penne reaches desired texture, shouldn't take long here, few minutes max.

Plate and top with remaining chopped parsley. Add more grated cheese on top if preferred.

Don't worry, or more so don't even try to fully cook the chicken breasts in the beginning. The main purpose is to get that nice sear on the surface. The meat can always get cooked-through once adding back to the pot later on.

A little note on the amount of salt used. Since we are using some grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is already kind of salty, if you're not 100% sure, it might be better to under-salt the pasta first. Give it a taste after adding the cheese, you can always add more salt as the cooking goes on. However, if you over-salt the mixture too early, it'll be hard to rescue the meal from there.

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