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olive garden chicken carbonara recipe

Olive Garden Chicken Carbonara recipe

Olive Garden Chicken Carbonara recipe

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Olive Garden Chicken Carbonara recipe
Olive Garden Chicken Carbonara recipe


Olive Garden Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara

Dinner should be exciting!  This Olive Garden Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara takes exciting to the next level!  It’s a wonderful take on a chicken and shrimp pasta meal using chicken tenders to update this classic dish.


Carbonara pasta is originally made using guanciale, which is an Italian cured pork product similar to bacon.

It is pan-fried and added to cooked piping hot pasta and a combination of raw egg and Parmesan cheese. The heat from the pasta cooks the egg and makes it take on a creamy consistency.

In America, we know carbonara as a creamy sauce usually made with heavy cream and Parmesan cheese.

Bacon is used instead of guanciale, and it is topped with chicken or shrimp. The popular Olive Garden version is topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and broiled for a couple of minutes.


  • Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil is used to marinate the shrimp or chicken, whichever you use.
  • Italian seasoning: usually made of oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, and sage, it gives this recipe an authentic Italian flavor.
  • Shrimp: I love carbonara with shrimp, but you can choose to use chicken if you are allergic to shellfish or just like chicken better.
  • Butter is, for me, essential in the making of the sauce.
  • Onion and garlic. I can barely think of a dish in which I don’t use minced onion and garlic.
  • Bacon bits: use real bacon bits. They are widely available.
  • All-purpose flour is used to thicken the sauce. You need to cook it for a couple of minutes in the butter, or else the sauce will have an uncooked flour flavor.
  • Heavy cream or whipping cream gives the sauce its creamy flavor and texture.
  • Milk helps dilute the sauce and make it thinner.
  • Parmesan cheese is also used to thicken and flavor the sauce as well as on the topping.
  • Linguine or any long pasta of your choice. I like linguine or fettuccine because they are thicker than spaghetti, and sauce clings to them a lot better.
  • Mozzarella cheese makes this dish “cheesy” when melted, but you can skip it if you like.
  • Panko breadcrumbs. I love them because they are so much crispier than regular breadcrumbs.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: I think they make this dish so much better. Their taste is amazing, and a little bit goes a long way.
  • Parsley: used in a lot of Italian dishes, it not only imparts great flavor but looks good when presenting your dish.


Olive Garden Chicken Carbonara recipe
Olive Garden Chicken Carbonara recipe


  1. This dish is all about multi-tasking and doing several things at the same time, like cooking the pasta at the same time you make the sauce.
  2. If you feel you aren’t fast enough, cook the shrimp before making the sauce and set them aside. That way you have them ready when the sauce is completed. They really take no time to cook, but you can do it beforehand.
  3. Do not overcook the shrimp. Remember you are adding them to the hot sauce, so they will continue to cook afterward.
  4. It is important that your sauce not be too thick because it will thicken a bit more when the pasta is broiled and as it cools down, so if you feel it is too thick, add a bit of the pasta water to it.
  5. Watch the pasta carefully when in the oven, the topping can easily burn



Calories per Serving 1,829
Total Fat 113.4 g
Saturated Fat 40.0 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 518.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 113.0 g
Dietary Fiber 5.5 g
Total Sugars 6.8 g
Sodium 1,572.7 mg
Protein 86.2 g

Serve Olive Garden chicken and shrimp carbonara with spaghetti

When serving, place the hot, cooked spaghetti on a relatively large serving platter. Top it with the chicken and shrimp in carbonara sauce.

Spoon the sauce generously over the chicken breasts, then top it with reserved bacon bits, additional grated parmesan cheese and parsley, and serve. Alternatively, you can also add the pasta directly to the pan and mix everything together there for a slightly more rustic presentation.

Each serving should have a nice mound of spaghetti, a breaded and fried chicken breast, a few pieces of juicy shrimp, browned bacon bits and plenty of rich, gooey sauce. Leftover chicken and shrimp carbonara will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 4 days.

What Makes Shrimp Carbonara With Chicken Unique

This classic recipe is an Olive Garden favorite.  It’s made up of sautéed seasoned chicken, shrimp, and bucatini pasta tossed in a creamy carbonara sauce with bacon and roasted red peppers.  But this version uses chicken tenders for the chicken to offer a new twist on this classic dish.  The breaded chicken tenders combine with all the other flavors so beautifully.  And your kids will love it too!

What is Carbonara Sauce Made of?

Traditionally, carbonara is made of guanciale, Pecorino Romano cheese, and eggs. It’s all tossed with hot pasta and starchy pasta cooking water, lightly cooking the eggs and creating a glossy sauce that coats the noodles. Black pepper, a common seasoning in Rome, is showered over the whole thing for punchy flavor and spice.

How Does Olive Garden Make Their Carbonara Sauce?

The big surprise about Olive Garden’s chicken and shrimp carbonara is that it is egg free! Olive Garden’s chicken and shrimp carbonara is more of a cream-based alfredo sauce infused with carbonara flavorings. Sliced red bell pepper is added for color and the chicken and shrimp combo add to the over-the-top vibe the Italian-American restaurant chain is known for.

My version of the Olive Garden twist on the Roman classic uses bacon instead of the more traditional guanciale. I like a combination of both Pecorino Romano cheese for its sharpness and Parmesan for its smooth depth of flavor. I add a good measure of pasta cooking water instead of relying solely on cream, creating a sauce that is thick and rich without being overly heavy.


Olive Garden Chicken Carbonara recipe
Olive Garden Chicken Carbonara recipe


What Pasta Shape Do I Use for Carbonara?

Carbonara works well with a variety of pasta shapes, but look for thicker options that will hold up to the cream sauce.

  • Long, sturdy shapes like bucatini or linguine stand up to the thick sauce and hearty add-ins. Skip angel hair for this dish.
  • Chunky, short shapes like rigatoni or farfalle hold onto the sauce and pair well with the shrimp and chicken.

Olive Garden Chicken Scampi

Why this Recipe Works

The Olive Garden has so many wonderful recipes that can be made at home. This Chicken Scampi works because it’s filled with wonderfully fresh ingredients and topped with a creamy white wine sauce. It can be made as a pasta dish or add shrimp instead of chicken. There are many ways to serve this dish. So many families have fond memories at the Olive Garden restaurant. Making a dish like this helps recreate those favorite memories that you have when you go out to eat.


  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour/ 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil – divided use
  • 1/2 green bell pepper sliced thin /  1/2 red bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper sliced thin  /  1/2 red onion sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic sliced thin
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasonings


  • Place flour, salt, and pepper into a shallow dish and mix well with a fork. Place milk in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken first in flour, then dip into milk, and then dredge again in the flour.
  •  Place breaded chicken on a rack and allow to rest 10 minutes before cooking. While the chicken is resting, cut peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute the peppers, onions, and garlic in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the peppers, onions, and garlic with a light sprinkling of salt. Saute until peppers begin to brown. Remove from skillet.
  • Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a hot skillet. Place the chicken in skillet. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side until the chicken has browned on both sides. Remove chicken from pan. Deglaze the pan by adding white wine to the pan and add Italian seasoning blend. Use a spoon to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add heavy cream and mix well. Return cooked vegetables to the pan and stir. Add cooked pasta to the skillet. Plate the pasta and sauce, placing a few pieces of cooked chicken with each plate.


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