THICKENING YOUR SAUCE
There are no thickening agents in this recipe, like flour or cornstarch.
Instead, you’ll be using the starches released from your cooking pasta to help thicken your sauce naturally. If the ingredients are measured exactly, you’ll have just enough liquid to cook your pasta and create a sauce.
If your sauce looks thin, remove the finished dish from the heat and allow it to set, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Your sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
SKILLET MEAL TIPS
If you’ve never made a homemade pasta skillet before, here are a few of my favorite tips for success:
- Is your food sticking to the pan? Add a bit of liquid and turn the heat down – your stove is too hot. Stoves all run at slightly different temperatures, even if they’re turned to the same setting.
- Sauce look thin? If your sauce looks thin when you’re done cooking, allow the pan to sit for 5 minutes, uncovered. The pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it stands.
- It is important to properly measure your liquids and pasta for this recipe. Everything is cooked in a single pan, so you’ll need an exact amount of liquid to cook your pasta. Improper measuring can lead to a runny sauce.
- Use freshly shredded cheese (cheese grated from a block) instead of pre-shredded cheese in a bag. Pre-shredded cheeses are coated in anti-clumping powder that makes your sauce grainy as it melts.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
It only takes thirty minutes and a single sauté pan to make this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta. Chicken, bacon, and penne pasta are coated in a creamy cheese sauce with tangy ranch seasoning.
6 slices bacon chopped
16 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cubed
20 ounces water
8 ounces penne pasta uncooked
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
4 ounces heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese freshly grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
In a sauté pan over medium heat, add chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. If needed, add olive oil to equal 2 tablespoons of total oil/grease in your pan.
Add cubed chicken and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from pan, set aside, and cover to keep warm.
Add water, penne pasta, and ranch seasoning to pan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook to al dente according to pasta’s package directions. Most of the liquid should be absorbed.
Add cooked chicken, bacon, heavy cream, and shredded cheese to pan. Stir until cheese has melted. Remove from heat and allow to set for 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.