QUICK FIX: Chicken carbonara can make quick weeknight dinner

Chicken Carbonara. (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)
Chicken Carbonara. (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)

How about a warm and inviting chicken carbonara for a quick weeknight dinner?

It's a classic Italian dish with a creamy sauce and pasta. I used rotisserie chicken to speed up the preparation. A traditional carbonara is made with pancetta, a salt cured pork. If it's difficult to find, bacon slices work well.

Here's my very shortened version with the essence of carbonara but not the long cooking time.

Helpful hints:

Linguine or other pasta can be used instead of fettuccine.

Any type of pre-cooked chicken breast can be used.

Diced onion can be used instead of frozen onion.

2 crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of minced garlic.

Shopping list:

To buy: ¼ pound fettuccine, 1 small piece pancetta or sliced bacon, 1 bag frozen diced onion, 1 container minced garlic, 1 small rotisserie chicken breast or other cooked chicken breast, 1 carton heavy cream, 1 piece Parmesan cheese and 1 bunch fresh basil.

Chicken carbonara

¼ pound fettuccine

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 ounce pancetta or 1 bacon slice

½ cup frozen diced onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup rotisserie chicken breast, skin and bones removed, cut into ½- to 1-inch pieces

1 egg

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ cup packed basil leaves

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan ¾ filled with water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and boil for 10 minutes, taste to make sure the pasta is cooked but firm; add two more minutes if necessary. Remove ½ cup of cooking water to a bowl and set that aside. Drain the rest of the pasta. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the pancetta. Cook for two or three minutes and add the onion and garlic. Saute three to four minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss well. Stir in the chicken. In a small bowl whisk the eggs and cream together. Pour into the skillet and toss again. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water if needed to make a smooth sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two dinner plates and sprinkle basil and parmesan on top.

Yield two servings.

Per serving: 650 calories (39 percent from fat), 28.1 g fat (12.0 g saturated, 7.2 g monounsaturated), 246 cholesterol, 53.5 g protein, 49.1 g carbohydrates, 2.6 g fiber, 434 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of more than 30 cookbooks, including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook."