Chicken Mozzarella Pasta

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta – farfalle pasta tossed with some seasoned cooked chicken tenders, sun-dried tomatoes and bacon in a creamy mozzarella sauce. An easy and delicious weeknight dinner.

As you may know, our son graduated high school in June.  I must say that it’s really odd to not have to deal with the drop-off line in the morning, the homework deadlines, and the shuttling to and from practices, games, etc.
Although the one thing I really miss is seeing him and his friends running on the cross country and track teams. It was so much fun to go to all the events and see kids from across the state and even country competing. There are so many talented children out there, it just amazes me.

I was browsing Pinterest the other day for dinner ideas when I came across this incredible looking recipe and just knew I had to make it that night.  Needless to say, the family wasn’t disappointed. I also added a little bacon to it because everything’s better with bacon, right.

Yield: Serves 4
Farfalle pasta tossed with some seasoned cooked chicken tenders, sundried tomatoes and bacon in a creamy mozzarella sauce.

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-4 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and oil reserved
  • small amount of olive oil, if necessary
  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces Farfalle pasta
  • 1 tablespoon basil (if using dry basil), if using fresh basil you can add more
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (at least, add more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water (or more)
  • salt, to taste
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes from the oil and reserve 2 tablespoons of the oil for sautéing.
  2. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces.
  3. In a large skillet over high heat, sauté the minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in the 2 tablespoons of reserved oil for about a minute.
  4. With a slotted spoon, remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the pan.
  5. Season both sides of the chicken tenders with salt and pepper, and evenly distribute the tablespoon of paprika among them.
  6. At this point, it may be necessary to add a small amount of olive oil to the skillet. Add the chicken to the pan and with the heat on high, cook on each side for one minute. . Remove from heat and cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
  7. Cook farfalle according to manufacturer’s directions. Remove 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
  8. Return the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and the chicken to the skillet. Gently pour in the 1 cup of half and half and add the mozzarella. Bring to a slow steady boil. Reduce heat immediately to a simmer and stir constantly until cheese melts forming the sauce.
  9. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix until thoroughly combined.
  10. Add the basil, and red pepper flakes (more if you like an extra kick!).
  11. Slowly pour in approximately a 1/2 cup of the pasta water to thin the cheese sauce, making it creamier. Be mindful to not add all the water all at once, use your judgement as to how thick or thin you want your sauce. You don’t want it to be too watery.
  12. Add the crumbled bacon and mix to combine.
  13. Season with salt to taste.
  14. Allow the contents of the skillet to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  15. Garnish with additional basil and red pepper flakes, if desired.