Parmesan. Chicken. Pasta.

There's nothing I love more than a good pasta dish. I found the original for this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Half-Baked Harvest. This recipe is a twist on a classic, comfort dish. I like to doctor it up with a few additions and some *sPiCe* for my own personal preference. Bonus points: the leftovers are just as delicious.


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast or tenders

  • 1 cup Panko

  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan

  • 4 tBsp extra virgin olive oil

  • salt and black pepper

  • 1 pound short cut pasta (I prefer whole wheat penne)

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I prefer 2 different colored peppers)

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

  • 3-4 tsp cajun seasoning (I throw together paprika, cayenne, chili powder, oregano, and thyme)

  • Crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 cups milk

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 2 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature

  • Additional: fresh spinach and diced fresh mushrooms

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain. Meanwhile place Panko and 1/2 cup parmesan in shallow bowl. Pound chicken to flatten or cut in half if very thick. Dredge both sides of chicken through Panko mixture, pressing to adhere. In a deep frying pan, heat 2 tBsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes each side. Remove chicken and keep covered. If needed, add remaining 2 tBsp of olive oil to the same pan. Add the onion to cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic, cook another 5 minutes until the peppers and mushrooms are soft. Stir in the cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to your liking. Cook another minute, until the spices are fragrant, then pour in the milk and cream. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook 5-8 minutes, until thickened slightly. Stir in parmesan until well combined. (Note: I typically don’t use as much Parmesan as recipe calls for, and I top the served dish with my desired amount when eating.) Toss in the pasta and spinach if you are adding it. Cover and cook another 3-5 minutes, allowing spinach to wilt.


Slice chicken and serve atop dished pasta. Pair with your favorite dry red, sprinkle with desired parmesan and enjoy :)





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