This chicken and bacon pasta is comfort food personified. Pasta shells coated (and filled with) creamy Parmesan sauce flavoured with bacon, then topped with pan fried chicken breast. It’s the meal everyone will request over and over again.
Start with this delicious Basil Pesto Caprese Salad to accompany your beautiful Italian themed dinner!
We have a pasta dish of some kind at least twice a week, usually more. They are quick and easy to make. Everyone loves them and they are endlessly customisable.
I threw this recipe together one night when I was short on time and kids have been begging for a “creamy pasta” for ages. I pretty much used the ingredients I had in my fridge and that’s the story of this recipe.
Adding chicken to bacon pasta is not something I would normally do as it’s not very Italian but I had two chicken breasts that needed to be used up asap. Plus I am always trying to get more protein into my teens, so if you are Italian and are appalled by my choice, I make no apologies!
My kids absolutely loved it and it’s become a favourite. I figured it’s a shame to deprive my readers of the recipe that is so popular in my house!
How to make creamy chicken and bacon pasta
The recipe is a spin on my pasta cream sauce. Like I mentioned in that post once you master a basic recipe you can add whatever you like to it and will always end up with something new and tasty.
The base of the pasta sauce is heavy cream and Parmesan, no flour, no other thickeners. The heavy cream with cheese stirred in doesn’t need any help thickening.
I’ve changed things up by adding bacon and garlic to flavour my sauce. The biggest deviation from the classic pasta cream sauce is the addition of one tablespoon of tomato paste.
I tell you the tomato paste is a game changer. It colours the sauce just the lightest shade of pink and gives a touch of sweetness and acidity to balance out the richness of cream. It’s a beauty!
For those of you who avoid dairy, this chicken and bacon pasta tastes just as delicious made without cream. Just use with Soya Single Cream instead as I did for my son who is lactose intolerant. I still used Parmesan cheese as it contains little to no lactose due to ageing process.
What pasta should I use?
You can use any pasta you like but I absolutely love using pasta shells also known as conchiglie for its amazing ability to hold sauce.
If you look closer at the photo above you will see that each pasta shell is filed with the delicious creamy sauce. Just imagine how much more flavour you will get with each bite!
More quick pasta recipes:
- Easy Spaghetti Carbonara (no cream)
- Shrimp Scampi Linguine
- Spaghetti alla Siciliana
- Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into half lengthwise
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsbp olive oil
- 3 strips of bacon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 500ml/2cups double/heavy cream see notes for non dairy substitute
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3-4 leaves fresh basil,sliced or ¼ tsp dried basil
- 50g/1/2cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
- 1 lbs pasta shells or any other short pasta
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions.
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Cut each chicken breast lengthwise to create four thin cutlets. Season with salt and pepper. Pan fry in olive oil for 5 minutes on each side over medium heat until golden on the outside and cooked all the way through. Remove to a separate plate and keep warm.
- To the same pan add chopped bacon and cook until the fat is rendered, discards all fat but 1 tbsp. Add minced garlic and cook briefly for 30 seconds, do not allow the garlic to burn, add the cream, tomato paste, sliced basil and bring to a boil, lower the heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, let it simmer over low heat for a couple of minutes until the sauce is thickened. Add salt to taste. Cover with a lid and take it off the heat.
- Drain the cooked pasta and reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Add the pasta directly to the sauce and gently toss until it's coated with the sauce, add some pasta water until the sauce is desired consistency. Slice the chicken breasts and top the pasta. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan and sliced fresh basil.
- Use Soya Single Cream as a dairy free substitute.
- Plant based Parmesan will also work in this recipe.