Pasta with Bacon, Sun-Dried Tomato and Mascarpone – Rich, creamy mascarpone fragrant with crispy bacon, savory sun-dried tomatoes, and aromatic fresh basil is tossed with a curly cavatappi and topped with sliced, grilled chicken breasts. A wonderfully delicious dish!
I just love a bacon and tomato sandwich. Crispy bacon and thick slices of juicy, homegrown tomatoes freshly picked from my dad's garden. Here, I've tried to capture those flavors in a pasta sauce using my favorite creamy pasta sauce base: mascarpone cheese.
The bacon and sun-dried tomatoes are chopped up fine to give the most uniform flavor to the sauce. Less is more with the bacon. 5 ounces gives a nice hint of salty, smoky flavor to the sauce. I've tried it with more, but then the bacon overly dominates the other flavors.
- 1 lb box of cavatappi or other shaped pasta (454g)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 lb chicken breasts, (454g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning (or a mix of dried basil, oregano, and marjoram)
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and finely chopped (7oz, 200g)
- 1 cup chicken broth (8oz, 227g)
- 8oz container mascarpone cheese (227g)
- 5 oz bacon, cooked until crisp and finely chopped (142g)
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2.2oz, 62g)
- 1 ½ cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves (1.5oz, 43g, from 2 little plants in the supermarket)
- salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water to thin the sauce. Toss pasta with butter. Set aside and keep warm. (I wrap mine in a blanket)
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Grill, pan grill, or sauté in olive oil until done. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning. Let rest until ready to serve, then slice.
For the sauce:
- Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until softened and golden.
- Add sun-dried tomatoes and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Add mascarpone, chicken broth, and bacon. Stir until blended and mixture becomes hot and bubbly.
- Stir in parmesan cheese until melted. Turn off heat.
- Stir in basil.
- When ready to serve, combine buttered pasta and sauce adding reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as necessary. Toss in sliced chicken.
Toss the pasta with the sauce immediately before serving. If you make the pasta an hour or so ahead of time, keep the pasta and sauce separate. I have a blanket that I keep in the kitchen for keeping food warm. Just wrap the pan in the blanket and it will stay warm a couple of hours. Gently reheat the sauce without boiling and combine with warm pasta, adding reserved pasta water as needed.
Please leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!