Chicken bacon ranch pasta recipe

CHICKEN BACON RANCH PASTA IS A DISH THAT EPITOMIZES COMFORT FOOD, BLENDING THE SAVORY FLAVORS OF CHICKEN AND BACON WITH THE CREAMY TANGINESS OF RANCH DRESSING. THIS DISH HAS GAINED POPULARITY FOR ITS ABILITY TO SATISFY CRAVINGS WITH ITS RICH FLAVORS AND COMFORTING TEXTURES. WHETHER FOR A COZY FAMILY DINNER OR A CASUAL GATHERING, IT NEVER FAILS TO IMPRESS.

Why you’ll love this recipe

THERE ARE COUNTLESS REASONS TO ADORE THIS CHICKEN BACON RANCH PASTA RECIPE, EACH COMPELLING IN ITS OWN RIGHT. WHETHER YOU’RE A SEASONED HOME COOK OR A CULINARY NOVICE, THIS DISH PROMISES TO DELIVER SATISFACTION ON MULTIPLE FRONTS. HERE’S WHY THIS RECIPE IS BOUND TO BECOME A FAVORITE IN YOUR KITCHEN REPERTOIRE:

  • Delicious Taste: The savory chicken, crispy bacon, and creamy ranch dressing combine to create a mouthwatering dish that’s full of flavor.
  • Easy to Make: With simple ingredients and straightforward steps, this pasta dish is quick and easy to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
  • Versatile: You can easily modify the recipe to suit dietary needs or preferences, making it a great option for everyone.
  • Comforting: It’s the ultimate comfort food, combining creamy pasta with hearty ingredients for a satisfying meal.
  • Crowd-Pleaser: This dish is sure to be a hit with both kids and adults, making it ideal for any gathering or family dinner.
  • Adaptable: Make it healthier with substitutions like whole wheat pasta or low-fat ranch, without losing the delicious taste.

Key Components of the Dish

THE ALLURE OF CHICKEN BACON RANCH PASTA LIES IN ITS COMBINATION OF KEY INGREDIENTS, EACH BRINGING ITS UNIQUE FLAVOR AND TEXTURE TO THE DISH. HERE ARE THE ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS:

  • Chicken: The protein core of the dish, chicken provides a juicy and tender element that pairs well with the other flavors. Using boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs allows for quick cooking and easy preparation.
  • Bacon: Bacon adds a smoky, crispy texture and a depth of flavor that enhances the overall taste of the pasta. Its saltiness contrasts nicely with the creamy sauce.
  • Ranch Dressing: The star ingredient that ties everything together, ranch dressing offers a tangy, herby creaminess that defines the dish’s unique profile. Whether store-bought or homemade, it’s indispensable for achieving the right flavor balance.
  • Pasta: The choice of pasta can vary according to preference, but shorter, sturdy varieties like penne, fusilli, or farfalle are ideal for holding onto the creamy sauce, ensuring that every bite is as flavorful as the last.
  • Cheese: Typically, shredded cheddar or a blend of cheeses is added to the sauce or sprinkled on top before serving, introducing a melty, gooey texture and a rich taste that complements the other ingredients perfectly.
  • Vegetables: Though not always included, vegetables like peas, spinach, or tomatoes can be added for color, nutrition, and an extra layer of flavor. They make the dish more balanced and visually appealing.
  • Herbs and Spices: Garlic, onion, parsley, and dill are common additions that enhance the dish’s aroma and flavor profile. These seasonings work in harmony with the ranch dressing to elevate the taste.
  • Cream or Milk: To achieve the creamy texture that’s characteristic of this dish, milk, cream, or a combination of both is often added. This helps to create a rich, luxurious sauce that coats the pasta and other components evenly.

EACH OF THESE COMPONENTS PLAYS A CRITICAL ROLE IN THE SUCCESS OF CHICKEN BACON RANCH PASTA, CONTRIBUTING TO ITS COMPLEX FLAVORS AND TEXTURES. TOGETHER, THEY CREATE A COMFORTING, SATISFYING DISH THAT’S BELOVED BY MANY.

How to Make It

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 Prep Time: 10 Mins

 Cook Time: 40minutes

 Total Time: 50 mins

Description

Cooking Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is a journey of combining textures and flavors to achieve that perfect dish. Starting with the preparation of ingredients to the final simmer of the pasta in the creamy sauce, each step is crucial. Tips on achieving the perfect creaminess and balancing the flavors are shared to help even beginners create a dish that tastes like it’s straight from a professional kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 6 strips bacon
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta I used rotini
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing seasoning mix

Instructions

COOK THE BACON

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over low heat (low and slow is best for bacon). Set aside and pour bacon drippings into a small bowl. Carefully wipe the skillet clean. Roughly chop the bacon once cooled.

PREPARE THE CHICKEN

  • Cut the chicken breasts into thinner slices, 2-3 slices each. They will plump up more when cooked. Pat dry and season each side with a light sprinkling of salt/pepper, as well as onion powder and Italian seasoning.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings in the skillet over medium-high heat. Olive or vegetable oil may also be used in lieu of drippings.
  • Sear the chicken on each side for 3-4 minutes, until a golden brown crust has developed. Set aside on a plate once cooked through. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then cut into cubes of desired size.

BOIL THE PASTA

  • Now is a good time to boil salted water and cook the pasta. Drain once finished. Prepare the sauce while the pasta boils.

MAKE THE SAUCE

  • Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the flour and use a silicone spatula to stir continuously for 1 more minute.
  • Temper the half and half by heating in the microwave for 40 seconds. Add it to the skillet in splashes, stirring as you do so. Bring it to a gentle bubble, then reduce heat to low.
  • Add the Ranch seasoning and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the cheese. (Note: It will continue to thicken upon standing.)

COMBINE THE PASTA/CHICKEN/BACON

  • Add the pasta to the skillet and use a silicone spatula to carefully combine with the sauce. Add the chicken and allow it to heat back up a bit. Garnish with bacon or stir it right into the sauce and serve!

Notes

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Pro Tips:

  • Heavy cream can be used instead of half and half.
  • If possible, shred the cheese from a block instead of using bagged shredded cheese as it will melt and taste much better. I use Cracker Barrel Sharp Yellow Cheese in this recipe.
  • Thick Cut bacon will produce more drippings for you to cook the chicken in.
  • Leftover chicken can also be used in this recipe.
  • Any kind of pasta can be used for this recipe, I prefer Rotini as it clings onto this sauce really well. Penne, Bowtie Pasta, Cavatappi, or Cellentani all work well too.
  • Sliced smoked sausage would make a nice addition to this meal instead of chicken.
  • Frozen mixed vegetables can be added to make it a complete meal as well.
  • Garlic Bread with Cheese makes a great side dish!

Casserole Method

  • Prepare recipe as outlined, be sure to cook the pasta until just al dente.
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish (or leave in an oven-safe skillet).
  • Top with 1.5 cups additional shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Make Ahead Method

  • Cook pasta for 1 minute less than al dente, follow all other instructions as outlined.
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish (or leave in an oven-safe skillet).
  • Top with 1.5 cups additional shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • When ready to serve, Bake (covered) at 350° for 40 minutes.
  • Remove cover and bake for 5 more minutes.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6 PEOPLE
  • Calories: 552kcal
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 893mg
  • Fat: 35g
  • Saturated Fat: 18g
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Cholesterol: 137mg
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