This Pecan Crusted Chicken Carbonara Recipe post is sponsored by Garofalo® Pasta. All comments and opinions are my own.
With everything that has been happening in the world, I wanted to share my recipe for Pecan Crusted Chicken Carbonara that is perfect for date night, or a Sunday meal with the family when the need for connection is so dire these days.
In late August, Hurricane Laura wrecked the southwest corner of Louisiana as a CAT 4 hurricane. She then made her way north, to the central part of the state, where most of my family lives. When calling to check on my grandmother post-destruction she explained her home was untouched, she was safe, but her neighbor’s shed was now in her backyard and her beloved pecan tree did not survive. She mentioned her pecan tree before she bothered complaining that she had also been left without power for the foreseeable future.
That pecan tree has been a staple for as long as I can remember. As a young girl, I would help my grandmother gather the pecans sort of like an Easter egg hunt for treasures. Once she had a large amount collected, there’s a little place in the country that will shell the pecans and return them to you to clean, but eliminating the need to crack all those nuts. I’d go over to her house in the summers and we’d spend hours removing the cracked shells from the pecans.
And while I no longer participate in the gathering of the pecans (I live in a different city now) I still, like clockwork, receive seal-a-meal packages of pecans. Most every single recipe calling for pecans on this website, including this one for Pecan Crusted Chicken Carbonara, have come from her Elliot producing pecan tree. Did you know there were different types of pecan trees? No? Now you do!
It makes me sad that the remaining pecans in my freezer will be my last, but I’m so happy for the memories they have provided. Who knows? Maybe she will plant another tree, or maybe I can somehow squeeze one into my back yard to continue the tradition.
- For the Chicken:
- 1/3 cup pecan oil (or canola oil)
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon roasted garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
- For the Pasta + Sauce:
- 14 ounces Garofalo pasta (linguine, fettuccini, etc.)
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with pecan oil.
Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and using a meat tenderizer, pound each breast until it is 1/2 inch in thickness.
Heat pecan oil in a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat.
In a shallow bowl, add the flour and salt and pepper. In a second shallow bowl, add the eggs and slightly beat. In a third shallow bowl, combine the chopped pecans, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley flakes.
Dip each chicken breast into the flour mixture until lightly coated on both sides, then into the egg mixture allowing the excess to drip off. Finish by placing into the pecan mixture, pressing the pecan mixture onto each side.
Once thoroughly coated, place chicken into the hot oil. Cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reach 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
While the chicken is baking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta noodles al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before straining.
Combine eggs, cream, Parmesan cheese, basil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
Using the same skillet used for the chicken (you can wipe if you prefer to remove any loose pecans), heat to simmer and add the cooked pasta. Add the sauce, toss with the pasta and add 1-2 Tablespoons of the reserved pasta water until the sauce is creamy and well blended.
Once heated through, serve immediately with a pecan-crusted chicken breast and topped with extra basil.
* I use pecan oil to enhance the nutty pecan flavoring but canola oil can be used as well.
*Careful not to overheat the carbonara sauce. Because the sauce is egg based, you will end up with scrambled eggs if the heat is too high.
Speaking of history and tradition, Garofalo® pasta was established in 1789 in Gragnano, Italy, the homeland of pasta. It holds the longest history in pasta – Garofalo is more than 200 years old!
Garofalo’s packaging is completely transparent; Nothing to hide, and everything to share. It makes providing gourmet pasta for everyday meals attainable and fuss free. Made in Italy, with superior quality and 100% highest-quality durum wheat semolina, Garofalo uses a traditional bronze-dye to give their pasta a coarse and porous texture so your sauce will cling to it better. I get my Garofalo pasta at my neighborhood Rouses Markets. You can shop it here!
The selection of pasta from Garofalo is pretty robust. I love their spaghettini for traditional meat sauce pastas but chose thicker pasta, their fettucce, for today’s carbonara. While traditionally, carbonara includes bacon or pancetta, I’ve omitted it here and topped with my husband’s favorite Pecan Crusted Chicken so I could use my grandma’s pecans. You could certainly add both, but it seemed a bit overkill.
And if we’re being honest, you can skip the meat source all together if you prefer and just enjoy the carbonara on its own.
The breading of the chicken requires the most effort with this recipe but the ease of the carbonara sauce keeps the entire meal under an hour and in the relatively easy category while still rivaling anything you would order out. Prepping ingredients ahead of preparing the dish will speed things up immensely.
This recipe is so creamy and so indulgent; it’s quite possibly the best combination of the two main superstars- pecan chicken and pasta. Bonus points for utilizing the nostalgic pecans.
Do you have a favorite recipe that reminds you of a family member? I’d love to hear about it!
For more pasta inspiration, be sure to try: