Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach
This easy Chicken Bacon Spinach Pasta has the best creamy Alfredo sauce and will quickly become your favorite dinner recipe!
Be sure to pair this with my homemade cheesy garlic bread!
Love Pasta Recipes? Try my One Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta Recipe Next!
“This tastes like it’s from a restaurant.” Ahhh…music to my food blogging ears. Thank you hubby. He doesn’t lie either. In fact, he’s brutally honest about my recipes. But this one, is undoubtedly a keeper. The fresh tomatoes and spinach pair perfectly together, and I never met a creamy garlic Parmesan sauce that I didn’t like. As simple as this recipe is, there are some tips about searing chicken that you should glance over first. Chicken that’s seared properly makes all the difference when you’re cooking.
How to Make Perfectly Seared Chicken:
✔️Cast iron skillets conduct heat very well and are perfect to use when searing meat.
✔️Medium-high heat works well for searing, and it’s important to use oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable, canola, or peanut oil to prevent the meat from burning.
✔️It’s important to refrain from moving the meat around as it cooks. Allowing the meat to stay in the same place in the skillet ensures that the sear isn’t disrupted. You’ll notice that the chicken starts to release from the surface when it’s ready. If it’s sticking a lot to the pan, it’s not done searing.
✔️Butterfly the chicken and cut the seam to create two thinner slices of equal size. This will allow them to cook evenly and prevent them from being too thick.
✔️Don’t be afraid to season that meat and really get some flavor on there! Some of it will flavor the pan itself which will work it’s way into the sauce that you’ll cook in the same pan.
Of course you can also use any kind of pasta that you want for this meal, my husband just happens to be a penne kinda guy. Penne is also ideal for chunky and meaty dishes like this one. It’s easy to grab a nice big forkful that includes a little taste of everything.
The Trick to Extra Creamy Parmesan Sauce
- Refrain from adding cold ingredients into warm pasta when you prepare it. This includes the cheese, half and half, and/or milk. The consistency will be super creamy if you follow this instruction.
- Purchase a block of high-quality Parmesan cheese. Always shred the cheese yourself, it will taste and melt much better.
- Sprinkle flour over the cheese. This helps to thicken the water that separates from the cheese once it begins to heat up.
- Let the cheese come to room temperature before adding it to the warm (not hot!) base.
- Add the cheese gradually as opposed to all at once.
Try These Next!
- One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta
- Tortellini Al Forno
- Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce
- Olive Garden Stuffed Chicken Marsala
- Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Chicken & Spinach
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Did You Make This Recipe?
I would love for you to leave a rating and a comment below! How’d you do?!
Perfectly seared chicken served over pasta that's smothered in a garlic Parmesan cream sauce with spinach and bacon!
- 1/2 Tablespoon flour Optional
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, large in size
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning a combo of thyme, oregano, & basil
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- 4 bacon strips
- 10 oz. penne pasta
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 + 1/3 cups half and half
- 1 + 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cups spinach uncooked
Shred the Parmesan cheese and set it aside to allow it to get to room temperature.
Toss the cheese with ½ Tablespoon of flour. This is optional but will help the sauce remain smooth when the cheese is melted into it.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium-high heat.
Butterfly the chicken breast and cut the seam to create 2 thinner slices, each about an inch thick. Season each side generously with Italian seasoning and desired amounts of salt and pepper.
Sear the chicken in the hot skillet on each side. Refrain from moving the chicken around as it sizzles, it will hinder the nice golden sear color. If the pan gets too hot, reduce the heat to medium. Each side will take 3-5 minutes. Once each side is a nice, golden brown and the middle is cooked, set the chicken aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add the bacon to the same skillet. Low and slow is the best way to cook bacon.
While the bacon cooks, prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Once the bacon is cooked and crisp on each side, use tongs to remove it from the pan. Leave 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan, and add the garlic. Cook for about 60 seconds.
- Increase the heat to medium and gradually add in the flour, whisking constantly.
Temper the half and half by heating it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the half and half to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. Once it starts to lightly bubble, decrease the heat to low.
Slowly sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese, stirring as you do so.
Once well-combined, add the tomatoes, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes have softened slightly. Use a silicone spatula to gently mix in the penne.
- Slice the chicken into strips and place it back in the pan, over the pasta. Sprinkle the top with bacon, and serve!