Creamy and packed with peppers and onions, the whole meal can be made in just 30 minutes. A tortilla chip topping adds some surprising (and welcome) crunch.
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 4), cut into 1/2-inch strips
3 medium red, green or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 ounces penne (see Cook’s Note)
6 ounces cream cheese, cubed
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
3/4 cup crushed tortilla chips
Pico de gallo and sour cream, for serving
Heat the broiler to high. Combine the chili powder, cumin, and 1 tablespoon salt in a small bowl.
Heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and chili powder mixture and cook, tossing occasionally, until the chicken just starts to change color and the spices are toasted about 2 minutes. Add the peppers and onions and cook until they just begin to release some of their juices, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the pasta and 2 1/2 cups water to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is thickened and reduced by about half, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese until melted. Sprinkle the pepper jack and crushed chips over the top. Transfer to the broiler and cook until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes.
Penne is what really makes this recipe work so we don’t recommend substitutions.