I'm trying to be better about looking in the cupboards before I plan our meals, so that I can plan based on things that I already have on hand. It saves money, for one thing, and it also ensures that I won't have a pile of unused ingredients falling on my head whenever I open the cupboard (this has happened before with our cereal/snack cupboard; thankfully I have relatively quick reflexes).
That's how this meal was born -- I had beans and pasta in the cupboard, chicken and bacon in the meat drawer, and some rosemary that was nearing the end of its life. I combined them all together to make a pasta dish that is a new favorite in our house, and that is nothing short of luscious. The flavors are perfectly balanced; you get the earthiness of the beans and rosemary, the smokiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the cream, and the saltiness of the parmesan cheese -- all together in one creamy, delicious bite. YUM.
Pasta with Chicken, Bacon, and White Beans
1 pound penne or other short pasta
6 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain.
2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet.
3. Sprinkle the chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper. Add the butter to the skillet to melt. Add the chicken and cook until both sides are browned and crisp and the chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.
4. Add the garlic and beans to the same skillet; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add chicken stock and heavy cream, scraping the bottom of the skillet to pick up any browned bits; stir until thickened, then add parmesan cheese until melted. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Chop the chicken and add it, along with most of the bacon, to the reserved pasta. Add the sauce and stir to combine. Sprinkle each serving with additional bacon and parmesan cheese.