Chicken and bacon pasta is a lemony, creamy, and cheesy sauce coats this chicken and veggie-loaded pasta dish. This recipe is made without cream, so it's not as rich but still as flavorful! Plus, it's ready in under an hour.
Truth be told, I made this recipe months ago when I was about to move, when most of my inspiration came from me trying to use every thing in my kitchen so I didn't have to go to the store.
Buying more groceries to fill my already full fridge was not an appealing option.
This recipe is basically a creation of items that are pretty much always in my kitchen: spinach, onions, bacon, pasta, lemons, and parmesan.
My fridge feels empty without those things, so I try to always have them on hand. I felt pretty lucky I did when I was trying to clean out my freezer (hello, multiple containers of chicken I purchased on sale and then froze for "later").
Well, it was now later and time to cook that chicken. I usually am not a huge fan of chicken. It's fine, I guess. It's just not my favorite thing ever.
I'm certainly not hating on chicken, but I think it needs a little help to be really tasty. And we can all thank bacon, spinach, onions, lemons, and parmesan for making this chicken really tasty.
Making a creamy sauce with the pasta water, parmesan, a little milk, and some lemon juice makes this dish feel rich while not making you feel like you’ve just eaten a pound of butter. I feel like most white sauces of too rich for me, but this is not.
Don’t worry though because the sauce is not lacking in flavor. It basically proves that you don’t need a ton of butter or cream to make a tasty sauce.
I love using reserved pasta water because it adds some of the starchiness from the pasta into your meal helping to thicken sauces and provide a little more substance than plain old water. So remember to reserve some of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.
It's a tough call what makes me love this pasta dish so much. Is it the bacon? or maybe that it has 2 cups of veggies per serving? or that the creamy sauce is oh-so-satisfying but doesn't make my stomach hurt?
Whatever it is, this cleaning-out-my-kitchen meal tastes nothing like a randomly thrown together dish.
The lemon compliments the spinach and parmesan quite well. All the veggies bulk up the dish, and you get just enough pasta without having too much.
And last but not least, the chicken isn't boring. Win!
Chicken, Bacon and Spinach Pasta
- 6 ounces pasta
- 6 slices center cut bacon
- 1 pound chicken
- 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 medium onions diced (2 cups)
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped (2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic minced (2 tsp)
- 6 cups fresh spinach
- 2/3 cup parmesan
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- lemon for serving
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/3 cup pasta water.
- Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large dutch oven or skillet with high sides. Remove cooked bacon from pan and crumble. Set aside.
- Wipe out all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease (about half of the bacon grease in the pan). Heat over medium and add chicken. Cook for about 7 minutes per side until done. Set aside and slice against the grain.
- In the same pan, add the onions and sauté for 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook for about 1-2 minutes until spinach has wilted.
- Stir in the pasta water and parmesan cheese. Stir well to make the sauce. Simmer for about 3 minutes until thickened.
- Add in the chicken and cooked pasta. Stir well to coat all the ingredients.
- Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with reserved crumbled bacon. Serve with lemon slices. Enjoy!