Need a fun twist on chicken alfredo? This fantastic chicken rigatoni recipe is smothered with bleu cheese, crispy bacon and pear slices.
If you love creamy chicken pasta, you’ll swoon over this delicious chicken rigatoni recipe topped with bleu cheese, crispy bacon, and juicy pear slices.
chicken Rigatoni – A Family Meal Idea
To say pasta is my favorite type of food would be a gross understatement. I truly think I could eat it every night of the week if my family would let me. For example, every year for my birthday, I try to have my mother’s spaghetti with homemade meatballs.
While I would classify spaghetti and meatballs as my most favorite meal, I’m not picky when it comes to Italian fare – I like all types of pasta! Cream-based or tomato-based sauces, chicken or beef, with and without vegetables, I enjoy them all… except for seafood pasta. I’ll pass on that!
I originally shared this creamy Chicken Rigatoni at Belle of the Kitchen where Ashlyn and I trade Ideas for the Kitchen once a month. This month, we decided pasta dishes would be a delicious trade so while I was there, Ashlyn brought over her recipe for homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Broccoli. Both recipes are packed with flavor for a luscious dinner to savor with friends, loved ones and a few garlic breadsticks.
How to Make Chicken rigatoni
The recipe I’m sharing today uses rigatoni but could be made with any shape pasta you prefer.
It’s topped with chunks of chicken and sliced pears in a creamy homemade bleu cheese sauce.
As if that wasn’t flavorful enough, before you serve the chicken rigatoni, you top it with bleu cheese crumbles, crispy bacon bits, and parsley. It will tantalize your tastebuds and knock your socks off!
Here’s what we put in our dish. You’ll find all the measurements and recipe details in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Bleu cheese substitute
So what do you do if you’re not a fan of bleu cheese? When I’m at a restaurant ordering pasta, my eyes immediately beeline for any entree with gorgonzola.
I actually used gorgonzola the first time I made this Chicken Rigatoni. I only replaced it with bleu cheese this time around because I grabbed it by accident at the grocery store.
The two cheese wedges look nearly identical in the dairy case. As I was preparing dinner that day, I realized my mistake and quickly sent a panicked text message to my younger brother, who’s an amazing cook. He assured me I could use bleu cheese instead of gorgonzola in my recipe.
I’m glad I listened because my husband, Kent, and I actually liked the Chicken Rigatoni better with the bleu cheese. If you prefer a milder cheese flavor, though, just know it’s still delicious if you want to replace the bleu cheese with gorgonzola.
How to Cook the chicken
To cook the chicken, I fried it in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. You could also use shredded chicken, which is really easy to make ahead of time in your slow cooker and freeze to use in recipes when you need it.
In the summer, though, I’d recommend grilling the chicken to add a little smoky flavor to the Chicken Rigatoni.
Chicken Rigatoni with Bleu Cheese, Bacon and Pears
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Onion
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese + extra for garnish
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 2 pears
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 6-10 pieces of bacon crumbled
- Fresh Parsley optional
- Cook the chicken using any method you prefer. I cooked it in a pan with olive oil. Once it’s cooked cut it into long strips.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent.
- Add flour and mix into a paste.
- Slowly stir in the milk, whisking until smooth.
- Mix 1/2 cup of bleu cheese into the cream sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened, stirring frequently to prevent it from scalding.
- Meanwhile, peel and slice the pears.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni for 8-10 minutes, per the instructions on the pasta box. Drain and rinse in a colander.
- Return the rigatoni to the large pot. Carefully pour the bleu cheese sauce over the pasta. Toss in the sliced chicken and pears. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until heated through and pears are tender.
- Garnish with crumbled bacon, bleu cheese and fresh parsley, if desired prior to serving. Enjoy!
Serving Suggestions for Chicken Rigatoni
Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve my chicken rigatoni for dinner.
- With Bread – serve it with a few breadsticks, garlic bread, or a warm loaf of sliced Italian bread.
- Vegetables – Put your favorite salad or steamed veggies on the side.
- Roasted Walnuts – this would give it a little nutty flavor.
Pasta is one of those dinners that is very versatile with so many different options for how you prepare or top it. What’s your favorite way to enjoy pasta with your family? Please comment below and share, we’re always looking for new ideas!
If you love pasta as much as I do, you’ll also want to check out these recipes –
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Originally published April 2015. Updated April 2018.