This is one of those recipes that shows that I’m incapable of making tough decisions. I had so many ingredients on hand that I was excited to use, but I kept telling myself not to overdo it. Sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, ale, mustard, chicken, bacon, cream, pasta, parmesan, and smoked provolone? No. No, I couldn’t…
(Spoiler alert: Yes, I could.)
So I started off adding one ingredient at a time, trying to figure out where I was going to draw the line and keep my sauce simple, but something in my heart kept telling me, “Keep going, Morgan. You want it all. YOU DESERVE IT ALL.”
And so it all went in.
What came out of it was layer upon layer of flavor– one of those “I’d order this in a restaurant,” cue the success-fist-pump, “I CAN’T STOP EATING THIS” type of recipes.
This is one of those recipes you serve to make people fall in love with you. No, it’s definitely not a romantic candlelit dinner. However, it is tasty enough that I’d probably put up with some serious craziness as long as I got a nice plate of Smoky Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Penne every once in a while to reward me for my patience. I’m just being honest here.
Sometimes being indecisive is a glorious thing.
- 4 strips bacon
- 8 oz chicken breast, cut into chunks
- ½ lb penne pasta, cooked
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed without oil)
- 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup ale
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup to 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 oz smoked provolone, shredded
- Parmesan, to top
- Dash of smoked paprika
- Parsley, to garnish
- In a large, high-walled skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon. Remove from pan, crumble, and set aside. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and then cook until browned in the bacon grease, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and let melt. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a food processor (or mince together). Add the garlic and sun-dried tomato mixture, whole grain mustard, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Saute for 1 minute, or until garlic begins to brown. Pour in the ale and bring to a boil, stirring. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the ale mixture is reduced by about half, add in the cup of the chicken broth, add in the thyme sprigs, and bring back to a boil.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add back in the chicken and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add in additional ale and chicken broth, if necessary. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper. Discard the thyme sprigs.
- Stir in cream and bring to a simmer, taste and season again. Stir in half of the smoked provolone, a bit at a time, until melted and mixed with the sauce.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss.
- Spray an 8 x 8" baking dish with nonstick spray and pour the pasta mixture into the dish. Top with the remaining smoked provolone, parmesan, the crumbled bacon, and a dash of smoked paprika. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top melts and begins to lightly brown. Garnish with parsley and serve.
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