For me, Italian food is the ultimate comfort food. Cheese and pasta are two of my favorite things, and they come together so beautifully in most Italian dishes. This week’s recipe is an easy but extremely satisfying pasta dish to make if you’re craving something hearty and Italian: Tuscan chicken pasta. It has everything you could ever want in a recipe — juicy, sautéed chicken breast; crispy bacon; salty parmesan; a creamy sauce and perfectly cooked pasta. It even has spinach and tomatoes to balance the flavors. It’s a simple recipe that’ll leave you feeling like an Italian chef.
12 oz. spaghetti or angel hair
1 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 slices of bacon
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups of diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
3 cups of baby spinach
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan
Freshly torn basil, for garnish
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving one cup of pasta water. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook until golden and no longer pink inside, which should be about eight minutes per side. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice.
Meanwhile, in the same skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, which should take about another eight minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate, then chop into small pieces. Pour out half of the bacon fat left in the skillet. Add garlic, tomatoes and spinach to skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant and slightly wilted, which should be about two minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, then add heavy cream, parmesan and half a cup of reserved pasta water. Simmer for five minutes. Add cooked pasta and toss until fully coated, then add chicken and bacon and toss until combined. (For a looser sauce, stir in more reserved pasta water). Garnish with basil before serving. Enjoy!
Melissa Scrivani is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.