Happy Tuesday. I have a new recipe for you today that I think will become your new favorite pantry-ish meal. I’m still dealing with my fingernail injury, which means cooking needs to be very, very unfussy without too much chopping or dicing.
For this chicken and white bean pasta, you chop just one onion and a few garlic cloves, which makes it perfect for a quick weeknight meal when you’re busy (or slightly injured). Making use of things like pre-chopped pancetta, canned beans, and pre-shredded mozzarella cheese reduces the amount of effort but still gives you a tasty, comforting dinner.
While you can use chopped chicken breasts or thighs, I think ground chicken makes this meal even easier. You can also use ground turkey or lean ground beef. You’ll cook the meat in the pancetta fat, so avoid fatty ground beef or ground pork.
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Creamy Chicken and White Bean Pasta
Servings: 4 | Cook time: 1 hour (15 minutes inactive)
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 pound ground chicken; or use ground turkey or lean ground beef
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
14.5-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more to taste
½ pound of dry tubular pasta, like penne or rigatoni
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil leaves, for serving
Salt and pepper to taste
Fry the pancetta:
Place the pancetta in a cold skillet or wide pot and turn the heat to medium. Cook, turning occasionally, for 5–6 minutes or until the fat renders completely and the pancetta is crispy.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer a heaping tablespoon to a small bowl and reserve for garnish. Transfer the remaining pancetta to a large bowl.
Cook the chicken:
Return the heat on the skillet to medium. Add the ground chicken and cook it in the pancetta fat for 12–15 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Season with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked chicken to the large bowl with the pancetta.
Boil the pasta:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the pasta for 3 minutes under al dente. Remove ½ cup pasta cooking water from the pot before draining the pasta.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Prepare the sauce:
In the same skillet used to cook the chicken, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for 5–7 minutes, turning often, until translucent and softened.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Pour in the beans and season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Add the cooked chicken and pancetta
Pour in the pasta cooking water and the heavy cream. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
Finish the pasta:
Add the cooked pasta to the pot and toss to coat. Spread into an even layer in the skillet. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta and scatter the pancetta you reserved for garnish on top.
Transfer to the oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. If you like, turn on the broiler and broil for 2 minutes for extra browned bubbly spots on top.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with fresh basil leaves on top if you like. Enjoy!
Download the print-friendly PDF with nutrition information:
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