Cooking On A Budget: Chicken Bacon Pasta Pot

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chicken Bacon Pasta Pot


The one pot meals that include cooking pasta and a cast of surrounding characters are becoming rather trendy. I've seen some pretty awesome looking one pot wonders as they are called. Mine isn't fancy, just a down to earth, home style pot of goodness. Luckily, we were given some home cured "Canadian Bacon".  It sure didn't look like that stuff I see in the grocery meat department and didn't taste like it either. The pieces are large ovals that resemble bacon more than a slice of ham so they rendered down nicely for this particular dish. You can use a regular thick cut of bacon in it's place.
You don't really have to be fancy with how you dice the vegetables in this dish - it's supposed to be rustic.

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken cut up in chunks
  • 1 cup bacon - diced
  • 1 box Gemelli pasta
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bag shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup onion - rough chop
  • 1 small green pepper - rough chop
  • 1 small red pepper - rough chop
  • 3/4 pint to 1 pint grape tomatoes - sliced in half (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme - tied up with butcher's string
  • 1 tbsp. fresh garlic - chopped
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley (or use fresh)
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • drizzle of olive oil

I used my dutch oven, you can use any large sauce pot you have.

In a dutch oven put a light drizzle of olive oil in the pan and swirl the pan to coat. Over medium high heat let the pan heat up. Add in the diced bacon and brown the bacon, stirring occasionally until it has rendered it's fat and is slightly crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels on a large plate. Keep the fat in the pan.
Add in the diced chicken and over medium high heat, sear it and keep moving it around the pan like you would for stir-frying. You just want to give it a little color on the outside, about 1-2 minutes total. Take the chicken out of the pan and plunk it on top of the rendered bacon.

After the bacon is rendered, add in the onion with a pinch of salt to help sweat the onions, stir and cook over medium low heat for about 2-3 minutes until the onion is softened and then add in the chopped garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
Then toss in both of the diced peppers along with the dried parsley and the thyme. I tied my thyme bundle to the hand of the pot.

Add the chicken and bacon back to the pan.

Add in the pasta.

Add in the broth (enough to cover the pasta), stir add add in the cream and stir to incorporate.
Finally the tomatoes get added. Stir together. Pop the lid on and bring the heat up and when the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low, cover it and cook for about 18 minutes until the pasta is cooked.
Right at the end add in the cheese and stir really well. Let it sit for a minute or so until the cheese melts and then you are ready to taste and adjust for any extra salt or pepper. It's ready to serve.

This made many portions. Enough to feed eight people comfortably for a total cost of $16.75, nets out to $2.09 per person.

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