Today’s recipe is a cheesy baked pasta that I found over at Our Best Bites. Sara based the recipe on a Martha Stewart recipe. This yummy dish consists of a cheesy pasta blended with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms. Now I know the sun-dried tomatoes aren’t something most of you probably keep on had, so you could just leave them out if you like. Then just up the amount of chicken or mushrooms by 1 cup or I was thinking some broccoli or asparagus tips would also work well in place of the tomatoes. I did however really enjoy the sun-dried tomatoes in this dish but some of my family did eat around them.
Another great thing about this recipe is it makes two – 2 quart dishes. So you can make one and take one to someone or make one and freeze one or have enough for a dinner to serve 8-10 people. I made one and froze one. The thing I love about the frozen one is you cook it straight from the freezer. No need to let it thaw in the fridge a day before. Love this! The frozen version was almost as fabulous as the fresh dish.
When I made this recipe I also decided to try it with some pasta samples that I had received from Ronzoni. They sent be a couple of boxes of their new Smart Taste Pasta. So here is the beauty of their Smart Taste pasta. It is a white pasta that has 3 times the amount of fiber of regular pasta, the same amount of calcium as in an 8 oz. glass of milk, and is a source of Vitamin D. So if whole wheat pasta isn’t your thing or your kids won’t eat it, this is a great choice. There are 7 g of fiber in one serving! Love that! I must say no one noticed the difference and I felt like I was serving my kids a healthier choice. I am definitely gonna watch for this pasta to go on sale and stock up on it. The Smart Taste is available in Spaghetti, Thin Spaghetti, Penne Rigate, Rotini, Extra Wide Noodles, Angel Hair and Elbows. It’s retail price is $1.69 and they have a 75 cent off coupon here.
Finally, the winner of the “Nourish Your Inner Goddess” giveaway from Yoplait and MyBlogSpark is:
Kate who said: I always love any kind of berry yogurt.
Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne
- 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate (I used a 14.5 oz box of Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each), halved horizontally (I used some leftover cooked chicken)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 6 cups whole milk
- 10 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (I used 8 oz of button mushrooms)
- 1 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces) (I used an italian blend that had provolone in it)
- 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 6 ounces)
- Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. If you’re going to freeze one, use a disposable foil pan. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta and set aside.
- While pasta is boiling, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. While chicken pan is still hot, toss the mushrooms in and saute until golden brown (3-4 minutes). Use a little extra olive oil if needed.(Since I used left over chicken, I just cooked the mushrooms in the olive oil)
- In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot , melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking constantly, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer. Keep whisking frequently as sauce thickens, about 1 minute more. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
- Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes. If freezing, place remaining parmesan cheese in a zip-top baggie. If cooking, sprinkle on top.
- Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
To freeze, prepare through step 4 and then let pasta cool. Cover pan well with plastic wrap. Place extra cheese in baggie (for topping) on top and then cover entire pan well with foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, preheat oven to 400. Remove foil and plastic from pan and set cheese baggie aside. Place foil back on pan and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil, stir pasta, and top with cheese. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes (I only did 10 minutes) or until mixture is hot and bubbly throughout.