Creamy Chicken, Asparagus, and Bacon Pasta
Creamy Chicken, Asparagus and Bacon Pasta
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded with a mallet to even thickness
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sauce
12 oz penne pasta
1 lb asparagus, trimmed of ends, remaining diced into 2 inch pieces and steamed (or roasted like I did)
2 Tblsp butter
2 Tblsp flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 oz Neufchatel cheese (or light cream cheese) diced into pieces
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled into small pieces
In a small bowl, stir together basil, oregano, thyme and 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Srpinkle half of the herb mixture evenly over tops of chicken. Heat olive oil in a non stick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add chicken to skillet, herbed side down, then add remaining herb mixture on top of chicken. Cook chicken until fully cooked through, about 8-12 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate, let it rest 5 minutes then dice into pieces.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to directions listed on package, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
Steam 2 inch pieces of asparagus, or you can roast them in the oven until just barely fork tender, then set aside.
In a clean skillet that is large, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionaly. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer, stirring constantly. While whisking, slowly pour in milk, then cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it reaches a boil and thickens, reduce heat to medium low, add cream cheese and parmesan and cook, stirring frequently, until cheeses have melted. Toss in cooked pasta, cooked chicken and cooked asparagus and bacon and toss to evenly coat. Add in reserved pasta water as desired (I skipped the water and added just a touch more heavy cream). Serve immediately. EnJOY.