Bruschetta Chicken and Bacon Pasta


Totally restaurant-worthy, this bruschetta chicken and bacon pasta is amazing! Like, really, really amazing. Loaded with layers of flavor, it is unbelievably delicious.

Bruschetta chicken and bacon pasta on white plate and bamboo board.


I’m probably being pretty obvious about my rush to get you (and me) to industriously use up the last of the fresh garden produce before the weather changes, but I can’t bring myself to apologize for it.

This anxious push has recently given us these delightful lemon poppy seed zucchini muffins as well as this home-canned spaghetti sauce and this amazingly delish grilled chicken and veggie orzo salad.

And those are all recipes to be unapologetic about.

But today’s recipe, this ridiculously pretty bruschetta chicken and bacon pasta, well, it might take the cake, so to speak, in wow-factor for those late-summer garden tomatoes.

Bruschetta chicken and bacon pasta in large white serving bowl with fresh basil.

It’s difficult for me to adequately express my genuine adoration for life-changing recipes day after day as I type up these posts.

I mean, how many times can I say “this {fill in the blank} recipe is the best thing I’ve ever eaten” or “it was so delicious I could cry” without you kind of rolling your eyes and thinking “yeah, yeah, Mel, you say that all.the.time; enough with the exaggeration”

And I get it. I really do. Blogger hyperbole across the internet is as rampant as my nonstop pantry visits to sneak chocolate chips by the handful.

But you just have to trust me when I really declare a recipe Best of the Best. After all, if it rightfully earns a place in The Best Recipe section, who am I to deny the recipe its just-deserved accolades?

No question, this bruschetta chicken and bacon pasta has skyrocketed to my personal list of favorite meals of all time. It has every flavor I adore: fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella + a balsamic glaze that is drinkable in its deliciousness.

Not to mention that flavorful and tender marinaded chicken and piled high pasta.

Close up of bruschetta chicken and bacon pasta on white plate.

If you hoard fresh basil like I hoard fresh basil, believe me that this bruschetta chicken and bacon pasta is worthy of the tasty herb. In fact, it relies on the fresh basil for amped up flavor.

Also, don’t be dismayed by all that’s going on in the recipe. Yes, there are several components that need to be prepped to come together at the end, but I’ve made a note in every instance where things can be prepped in advance, and I promise that in the end, it comes together quickly.

It’s not a 30-minute super speedy meal, but I can guarantee the reward is totally and absolutely worth it. I’m declaring this one of the best things I’ve made all year. And that is not an exaggeration (my family would agree – we were all exclaiming over this one).

Last note (I promise): the flavors of the pasta/tomato portion are so other-worldly delicious, I think you could easily nix the chicken and make the rest of this recipe as a stand-alone pasta salad for a potluck or simple meatless meal.


Divine breadsticks or Asiago dinner rolls
Perfect corn on the cob or roasted broccoli

One Year Ago: Whole Grain Banana Chocolate Chip Snack Cake
Two Years Ago: Roasted Garlic and White Bean Chili
Three Years Ago: Oatmeal Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Four Years Ago: Monster Cookie Bars
Five Years Ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yield: 6-7 servings

Bruschetta Chicken and Bacon Pasta

Ingredients:

Chicken + Marinade:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see note)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1-2 large lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of black pepper

Balsamic Glaze/Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Pasta + Tomatoes:

  • 4 cups (about 16 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup packed fresh basil, chopped or torn into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 to 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes (or small mozzarella pearls/balls halved)
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (see note)
  • 1 pound penne or campanelle pasta (or similar shape)

Directions:

  1. For the chicken and marinade, place the chicken in a shallow dish or gallon-size ziploc bag. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, dried basil, salt, oregano, and pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken, turning the chicken so it is coated evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 8-12 hours.
  2. Preheat a grill or oven broiler (can probably even use a skillet on the stovetop) to medium heat. Cook the chicken 3-4 minutes per side (exact time will depend on thickness of the chicken) until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F at the thickest part. Tent with foil and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
  3. For the balsamic glaze: whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the glaze thickens, 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper, if needed/desired. The glaze can be made several days in advance and refrigerated (warm briefly, if needed, to loosen the sauce before serving).
  4. For the pasta: cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse lightly with cool water.
  5. For the tomato mixture: in a medium bowl, add the cherry tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil. Toss to combine. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside. The tomato mixture can be made up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated. 
  6. Add the cooked and slightly cooled pasta to a large serving bowl or dish. Add the tomato mixture, mozzarella and bacon and toss lightly to combine. Drizzle some of the balsamic dressing over the salad.
  7. Serve the cooked chicken breasts with a scoop of the bruschetta pasta on top or on the side OR cut the chicken into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with the pasta for a one-bowl pasta salad vibe. Serve the balsamic dressing on the side for additional drizzling!

Notes:

I use thin-sliced chicken breasts for this recipe. If the chicken breasts you are using are thicker than 1/4-inch or so, slice them in half lengthwise (like a hamburger bun) to form two thinner chicken cutlets. 

This pasta dish isn’t meant to be served hot. It’s more of a room-temperature/slightly warm-type meal.

The flavors are so delicious, I think you could easily nix the chicken and make the rest of this recipe as a stand-alone pasta salad for a potluck or simple meatless meal.

All images and text ©.