Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Pesto Chicken and Bacon with Angel Hair

What a surprise. I'm posting yet another pasta recipe. I know that everyone isn't as obsessed with pasta as I am, but it's something I make often and all of the recipes I share on my blog are delicious (if I do say so myself!).

Seriously, though, when you're a blogger who cooks with pasta as often as I do, it's pretty much a given that you'll be posting about a million recipes featuring that ingredient. I try to switch it up once in a while and post other types of recipes, but let's be honest ... These pasta recipes aren't going away anytime soon. Sorry not sorry.

 photo PestoChickenandBaconwithAngelHair_zpsxtycezlr.jpg
This simple meal is bursting with delicious flavor!

This dish is similar in some ways to another recipe I posted a long time ago. It's actually one of our favorite meals, so I was a little concerned this would either turn out too much like that or not as good. I initially took my inspiration from a completely different recipe, but as I was figuring out what flavors might go well together, it morphed into this. And you know what? That actually turned out to be a really good thing.

Yes, this is another creamy pesto pasta with tomatoes, but it's definitely not the same dish. Adding chicken and bacon and substituting heavy cream for cream cheese added a definite richness to this meal. If you're looking for a meatless pasta dish, this is perfect. But if you're in the mood for something with meat, you should definitely consider the recipe below!

Pesto Chicken and Bacon with Angel Hair

Adapted from a recipe on Cassie Craves.

Ingredient List:
  • 1 box angel hair pasta
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 6 slices bacon (I used turkey bacon.)
  • 3 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp low fat margarine or butter (I used low fat margarine.)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto (I used Classico.)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for serving

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

3.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray, and set aside.

4.  Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. You'll want the bacon to be so crispy that it easily crumbles.

5.  Once the bacon is crisp, remove it from the skillet. (I just placed mine on a paper towel lined plate and set it to the side.) If you're using turkey bacon, you won't have much grease left in the skillet so you can just move on to the next step. If you're using regular bacon, drain the grease before continuing.

6.  Pour 1 tbsp of the olive oil into the same skillet used to cook the bacon. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat until it's slightly brown and no pink remains.

7.  Once the chicken is completely cooked, remove it from the skillet. Wipe the skillet clean of any remaining olive oil.

8.  Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

9.  Pour in the heavy cream and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

10.  Add the angel hair pasta to the boiling water. Cook according to package directions until al dente and drain.

11.  Stir the pesto into the sauce and allow it to cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

12.  While the sauce is cooking, place the tomatoes on the prepared cookie sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. 

13.  Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes. (The tomatoes will begin to burst when they're ready.)

14.  Add the chicken and tomatoes to the pesto cream sauce, stirring to combine. Allow the mixture to cook for about 5 minutes.

15.  Crumble the bacon on the plate, then stir it into the sauce.

16.  Add the drained pasta to the skillet, and toss with the sauce until coated evenly. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

I know it seems like a lot of steps, but it's actually a really simple recipe. It's not the quickest pasta meal I make, but it's quick enough for a weeknight dinner. And, if you're wondering, I served this meal with a simple green salad and a glass of white wine.

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