Chicken Pasta with Bacon, Spinach and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce –  an Italian-inspired dish with lots of vegetables. Sliced chicken breast and bacon are tossed with veggies and penne pasta in a creamy homemade Alfredo sauce made with Parmesan cheese.

This chicken and bacon pasta recipe is a true comfort food! Cream sauce absorbs the wonderful flavors from the ingredients in the recipe, and with every single bite you get all the goodness and all the flavors!  This is one of the best chicken pasta recipes I ever made!


  • Use thin chicken breasts or chicken tenderloin meat.  Either cut of meat will work.
  • Use shredded Parmesan cheese. Do not use grated Parmesan cheese, use the shredded kind. What I usually do is buy a block of Parmesan cheese and shred it myself.  Freshly shredding the cheese results in the best sauce texture. You can, however, use store-bought pre-shredded Parmesan cheese.  Just do not use the grated kind.
  • You can use cooked spinach, frozen spinach, or fresh spinach. All will work.
  • Make this chicken pasta gluten free. All you need to do is use gluten-free brown-rice penne pasta instead of regular penne. You can also use gluten free quinoa pasta or lentil pasta.


  • Half-and-half is the US milk product that combines 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 heavy cream or whipping cream to form a lighter cream (unlike heavy cream).
  • Substitute 1/2 cup of milk + 1/2 cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of half-and-half.
  • If you live in the UK, half and half would be the equivalent of single cream. Alternatively, you can mix half double cream and half regular milk (if you live in the UK).


  • 6 oz / 180 g fettuccine or other pasta
  • 5 -7 oz / 150 - 200 g bacon , chopped
  • 6 oz / 180 g chicken breast , cut in half horizontally
  • 1 tbsp (30 g) butter
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/2 small onion , finely chopped (brown, white or yellow)
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) heavy cream / thickened cream
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) pasta cooking water (Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup FRESH grated parmesan (or 1/4 cup store bought grated) (Note 2)


  • Fresh parsley
  • Parmesan


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for time per packet MINUS 2 minutes (finishes cooking in Sauce).
  2. SCOOP OUT a mugful of pasta cooking water, then drain.
  3. Meanwhile, cook bacon until golden, drain on paper towels.
  4. Season chicken on both sides, cook in bacon fat, 2 minutes each side.
  5. Wipe pan - optional, to keep sauce pretty and white, and for a buttery clean tasting sauce rather than very bacony (Note 3).
  6. Over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and onion, cook for 3 - 4 minutes until onion is light golden and soft.
  7. Add cream, about 3/4 cup pasta water and parmesan. Stir, then simmer for 2 minutes until it reduces slightly - you don’t need to be exact here. Season with salt & pepper.
  8. Add pasta and toss gently in the sauce for about 1 1/2 minutes. The sauce will thicken and coat the pasta, do this step until you get the sauce consistency you want. If your sauce gets too thick, add a splash of pasta water.
  9. Toss through bacon and chicken.
  10. Serve immediately, garnished with parmesan and parsley!

Recipe Notes:

  • Just before you drain the pasta, scoop out a mugful of the pasta cooking water. This will be used for the sauce - the starch in the water reacts with the oil in the cream / butter and thickens the sauce.
  • Fresh grated parmesan is finer than store bought so it melts in the sauce. If you use store bought, ensure you use a finely grated one otherwise it won't melt properly so the sauce won't be silky smooth (flavour will still be delish though!)
  • I know it feels like a crime to throw out the bacon fat. I actually photographed and filmed this without wiping the pan and not using butter, but I really just felt the sauce tasted too bacony. Also it was brown instead of white. 🙂 So that's why I wipe the pan. You don't have to. You could skip the butter and use the bacon fat instead. But it will taste much more bacony, bordering on greasy rather than buttery creamy sauce (depending on how fatty the bacon is), and the colour will be light brown instead of white.
  • I'm providing the nutrition analysis reluctantly. I told you - this is indulgent. And worth it!!! 🙂

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