CHICKEN, BACON, AND RED PEPPER CREAM RIGATONI

1 pound raw bacon

1 large onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

8 ounce shitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced

1 large raw boneless chicken breast, sliced across the grain and then chopped into bite size pieces

1 teaspoon Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend

½ cup dry white wine

2 cups heavy cream

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ cups cheddar cheese

½ cup parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling

2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed

1 pound rigatoni pasta, cooked al dente to package directions

¼ cup scallions, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the bacon on a large foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bacon is cooked crisp.  Remove bacon to a cutting board and chopped in ½” pieces.  Reserve the bacon fat from the pan.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat in a large deep skillet.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.  Add the red bell pepper and mushrooms and cook 2 more minutes.

Add the chicken and Italian seasoning to the pan and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the wine to the pan and cook for about 2- 3 minutes letting the it reduce slightly.  Add the cream, salt, black pepper and cook for 6-8 more minutes, stirring frequently and letting the sauce reduce.  Add the cheddar and parmesan cheese to the pan and stir until cheese is melted and well incorporated.

Add the baby spinach and pasta to the pan and toss to coat until the spinach is wilted.  Serve in bowls garnished with scallions and more parmesan cheese.

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