Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound chicken (chicken breast or tenders)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil – combined)
- 5 medium tomatoes, chopped in large cubes
- 1 cup cooked spinach
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 (maximum 1/2 teaspoon) crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 bacon strips, COOKED, DRAINED OF FAT, AND CHOPPED
- 1 and 1/3 cups single cream
- 1 and 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 10 oz penne pasta (for gluten-free version, use gluten-free brown-rice penne, such as Tinkyada)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
- In a large skillet, on high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add chicken and cook on one side on high heat for 1 minute.
- While it cooks, sprinkle the uncooked sides of the chicken with paprika and Italian seasoning. Flip the chicken over, and cook on the other side for 1 minute on high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium, flip chicken over again and cook, covered, for several minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from the pan and keep chicken warm.
- To the same pan (but without chicken), add chopped tomatoes, spinach, garlic, crushed red pepper, 1/3 of the chicken (sliced into small strips) and half the bacon (already cooked and drained of fat). Mix everything.
- Add half and half and bring to boil. Only after half and half starts boiling, add grated Parmesan cheese – immediately reduce to simmer and stir, while simmering, until the cheese melts and makes the sauce creamy, only about 1 minute (at most 2 minutes). Then, immediately remove from heat. Season with more crushed red pepper and salt, if needed.
- In the mean time bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook it according to instructions. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water and drain again.
- Add pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Add remaining half of bacon (cooked and drained of fat). Season with more salt if necessary. Slice the remaining 2/3 of chicken into thin strips. To serve, top the pasta with chicken strips and grated Parmesan cheese.