This chicken penne pasta recipe is easy to make and loaded with bacon, tender chicken breasts, and an amazing fresh tomato garlic parmesan cream sauce. It's ready in about 30 minutes!
I'm extra excited about this recipe! It uses a handful of everyday ingredients and tastes like it came from a restaurant. I love how cooking the chicken in the leftover bacon fat makes it super flavorful. Chicken breasts can often end up tasteless and overcooked, but the chicken really melts in your mouth in this recipe. I coat the chicken in flour to help it get that nice golden sear, and the flour also helps thicken the sauce up quickly (the chicken will stay nice and moist because the sauce won't be reducing for too long).
I love adding fresh tomatoes to cream sauces. It's a great way to brighten the sauce up a bit since this one has cream and bacon. And that sauce coats the penne perfectly...
This creamy garlic penne with chicken is great because it's fast to whip up on a work/school night but fancy enough for company.
Recipe notes & tips:
- I don't recommend substituting the heavy cream for something else (the acid from the tomato is likely to curdle something like milk or half-and-half).
- If necessary, you can replace the fresh tomato with the equivalent ounces of canned tomatoes (try petite diced ones).
- In any recipe, I always prefer to grate my own parmesan. Here's the awesome cheese grater I use.
- You don't have to use penne for this recipe, but I do like the way the sauce clings so those little tubes.
More tasty chicken recipes to try:
- Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta
- Easy Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Feta Spinach Pasta
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta Recipe
Let me know if you've made this creamy chicken penne recipe! Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram so I can see your creations.
Questions? Ask me in the comments below!
Chicken Penne Pasta
- 4 strips bacon cut into small pieces
- 2 large chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Flour for dredging
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 5 ounces tomatoes chopped small
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook it al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, cut up the bacon (I use kitchen shears to make this job easy) and fry it in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Once it's done, remove it to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
- Meanwhile, prep your chicken. Cut it up and sprinkle it with the garlic powder and salt & pepper. Coat each piece in flour.
- Cook the chicken over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes/side or until golden. You may need to work in two batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Turn the heat down a little if needed (like if it's splattering a lot). Take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside.
- Stir in the garlic and chicken broth. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for about a minute or so.
- Add the cream and tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to lose their shape.
- Add the chicken and bacon back into the pan and let it warm through for a few minutes (let the sauce thicken a bit). Be careful not to overcook the chicken. Stir in the parmesan and toss with the drained pasta. Season with extra salt & pepper if needed.
- I used half of a 10 ounce container of little tomatoes (NatureSweet Cherubs) and cut them into quarters. You can use any tomato that looks good and just cut it up small (5 ounces is about the size of a medium tomato).
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for anything else because the acid from the tomato is likely to curdle something like milk or half-and-half.