A comforting classic Italian one pan chicken carbonara penne pasta recipe. Tender penne tossed in a delicious parmesan sauce with bacon and peas.
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
- Building Flavor- 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.
- Sauce- 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.
- 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 freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 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 to heat up.
- Carefully add the chicken breast and allow to cook for 4 minutes, reduce heat to medium and cook two 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 slightly 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 pot add uncooked penne pasta and 3 cups of water to the pan, 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 the pasta 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.