When creating a recipe that can be enjoyed at any time of the week I look to incorporate wholesome ingredients that make the dish pop in taste. This chicken carbonara penne pasta blends just a few simple ingredients to create a wonderful one-bowl meal.
Are you on the hunt for a comforting Italian pasta recipe? For my Italian-Chinese family, a big bowl of pasta always shows up on our dinner table. As a busy working mom, it’s important to have quick and simple meals that nourish my family but also taste great.
This easy chicken carbonara penne pasta is a one-pan wonder packed with flavor that the entire family will devour! Each bite is packed with protein and vegetables, with just the right balance of pasta and sauce. I’m sharing my secret ingredient to making this dish with minimal effort and maximum yum.
How to Cook Carbonara Pasta
The key ingredient is a culinary game-changer, Barilla Pronto Pasta! What makes this pasta so handy is that it’s a product innovation that allows for one-pan meals to be made without waiting for water to boil and no draining needed. That makes my inner scientist and mom want to do a happy dance!
I always feel like I’m waiting forever to get the water to a boil, but instead, the penne pasta I used for this recipe took only 10 minutes from start to finish in the same pan. If I can save time and clean up, sign me up!
Carbonara pasta is a classic Italian recipe using a savory custard sauce of gently cooked eggs and cheese. Here’s how to make your own carbonara version right at home.
It all starts with bacon or pancetta. It adds an intensely smoky, savory flavor and crisp texture to contrast the tender pasta. Minced garlic provides earthy aromatics, inviting the senses to open up and make you salivate. Green peas add a hint of sweetness to the dish and a beautiful bright green color. All of these get tossed back into the pasta after the sauce is added.
The sauce base for carbonara is two ingredients; eggs and grated parmesan cheese. When whisked together and tossed with HOT pasta, the eggs gently cook and the cheese melts to create a creamy sauce without feeling heavy. Make sure to continuously stir the sauce and pasta over very low heat so that the eggs do not scramble. The sauce should coat and cling to the pasta.
It’s hard to believe that all of the ingredients were cooked and infused together in one pot! The penne maintains its shape and texture after cooking and catches the light coating of custard sauce in the ridges. The chicken, peas, and bacon are mixed with the pasta then garnished with extra Parmesan cheese and parsley.
This chicken carbonara penne pasta is going to be a new mealtime favorite! What pasta dish will you make next using Barilla Pronto Pasta? For more one-pot ideas, check out my chicken cacciatore pasta or chicken pesto pasta recipes. I can’t wait to hear what pasta dishes you create!
More Pasta recipes
What May Cause the Egg Sauce To Curdle?
If you’ve ever made carbonara before, you may have experienced the sauce getting lumpy with small pieces of scrambled egg. What happened? With the right amount of heat (too much in this case) the eggs will coagulate and scramble; whole eggs set between 144 and 158° F. It’s a balance between cooking the egg sauce enough, so it’s safe to eat (above 140° F so bacteria is destroyed), yet creamy like a custard. To ensure this happens you want to add the sauce to the pasta when it’s hot to help it cook. Make sure to keep stirring the pasta in the pan over low heat until the sauce coats the pasta and is slightly thickened. If the sauce is allowed to sit, the hot pan will solidify the egg sauce instead of keeping it smooth. (Source: eggsafety.org)
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One Pan Chicken Carbonara Penne Pasta
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- kosher salt, for seasoning
- black pepper, for seasoning
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 slices bacon, thick-cut, diced into 1-inch pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup peas, frozen, defrosted
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Heat a large 12-inch skillet with high sides over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil and allow it to heat up.
- Carefully add the chicken breast and cook for 4 minutes, reduce heat to medium and cook 2 more minutes.
- Flip to the other side, reduce heat to medium and cook another 6 to 7 minutes, or until no longer pink and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
- Transfer to a clean plate to allow to rest and cool slightly. Once cooled, chop the chicken into ½-inch cubes.
- Clean the pan if needed if there are dark particles on the surface after cooking the chicken.
- Heat the same pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon and saute until crispy, stirring every minute, about 6 minutes.
- Turn heat to low and add garlic, saute for one minute until fragrant.
- Turn off heat and transfer bacon garlic mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Discard bacon grease.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together two eggs and 1 cup grated parmesan cheese until smooth. Set aside.
- To the same pan add uncooked penne pasta and 3 cups of water, turn heat up to high.
- Set the timer for 10 minutes and cook on high, occasionally stirring, until most of the water is absorbed and pasta is tender. Time may vary depending on the stove.
- Turn heat to low. Immediately add cheese and egg mixture, stirring vigorously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. The egg sauce should cook through (the raw egg flavor will go away once warmed by the hot pasta and short heating time on the stove).
- Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. I used about ¼ teaspoon additional salt.
- Add diced chicken, bacon and garlic mixture, and ½ cup of peas to the pasta. Stir to combine, until peas are warmed through.
- To serve, garnish with parsley, more grated cheese, and some freshly cracked pepper.
- If desired add some hot water to the cheese sauce after mixing, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed to thin sauce.
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