Monday, June 3, 2013

Mascarpone Pasta with Chicken, Bacon, and Kale

I apologize for being absent lately.  May/June is always a crazy time for me between our anniversary (our 5th was this year!), my birthday, and general Summer craziness.  Add to the mix the impending arrival of our Baby Boy this year and my blogging is unpredictable to say the least.

What makes things extra interesting is that I'm still participating in a CSA share so that means fresh veggies are waiting for me to whip them into something delicious each week.  Spring is greens time and it's always a surprise as to just what kind will come in our box week to week.

I had some leftover mascarpone cheese and so I tweaked a recipe that I found on All Recipes to include some of the gorgeous green kale that we received.  My husband isn't really a fun but when you add bacon, and chicken, and creamy cheesey pasta, he can't really complain.  Of course, if you don't have kale, you could always use spinach as in the original recipe.  This one reminded me somewhat of Macaroni Grill's Pasta Milano.

Two Years Ago: SweetFire Chicken (A Panda Express copycat and one of my husband's favorite) and Sweet Beginning's Summer Pasta Salad
Three Years Ago: Buckeyes
Four Years Ago: Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

Mascarpone Pasta with Chicken, Bacon, and Kale

Mascarpone Pasta with Chicken, Bacon, and Kale

  • 3 slices bacon 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup minced onion 
  • 1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste 
  • 2 tablespoons drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil 
  • 1 tablespoon prepared pesto sauce 
  • 1/4 pound fresh kale (or you can also use spinach)
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or more to taste 
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced 
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for topping if desired 
  • 8 ounces shaped pasta such as penne, rigatoni, or farfalle. 

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, follow the directions on the package for microwave cooking.  Drain the bacon on paper towels and crumble when cooled.
  3. In the same skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add crumbled bacon and onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and season with garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Cook and stir until chicken is no longer pink inside and lightly browned outside, about 10 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and pesto; stir in kale and cook until wilted, stirring constantly. 
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together mascarpone cheese, 2 cloves of garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and milk. Cook until smooth and bubbling, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes; stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese until cheese has melted, 2 to 3 more minutes. Pour sauce over chicken and bacon mixture. Season with additional salt and/or pepper if needed.
  5. Gently fold pasta into chicken mixture and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Source: Slightly modified from All Recipes

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