Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne

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.

Congrats Kate!

picture of cheesy baked chicken penne

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)
  1. 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.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Freezer instructions:

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.

129 comments on “Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne

  • I have made this several times and my family loves it! i make the whole batch and we just have left overs the next day. I don’t add the tomatoes or mushrooms ( kids wont eat them) and its still delicious! winner winner for this pasta dinner;)

  • Loved this recipe!!!
    The only thing I changed was that I left out the mushrooms. Also loved that I now have another meal in the freezer! Thanks for the amazing recipe! Have added to my favorite list!

  • Great recipe but when I make this, I change the cheese to anot Italian or Mexican cheese blend. Even add cheddar. Provolone is lovely but pretty bland.

  • This turned out awful!!! Like noodles in flour paste. Ugh! What a waste of money. Not sure what I did wrong!? I didn’t separate the batches, I just cooked it all in the Dutch oven. Could that be the problem?

    • So sorry. The dutch oven could have been the problem. They hold heat better and cook a lot faster. Also, if you covered it that could have been an issue too.

  • I made this last night but instead of Provolone cheese, I used swiss. I used fresh tomatoes, and I left out the mushrooms. I halved the recipe, added a little more, and I added Cajun seasoning. I know I made ALOT of changes but it was still amazing! I felt a little blan before I added the Cajun seasoning. But over all an awesome recipe. I’m sure I would like the original recipe but my crew is a picky one.

  • This was so good! The family loved it. Will definitely make it again – but the sun-dried tomatoes got a thumbs-down from my crew. So next time it will be minus the tomatoes. It will make the dish $5 cheaper, too! Always a plus!

  • This was delicious but I would double the penne pasta — there was a lot of sauce. I also added a bag of broccoli to give it some bulk!! Delicious!!

  • This dish is delicious! I substituted broccoli for the mushrooms and sharp cheddar for the provolone. I also just sliced up a regular tomato bc I didn’t have sun-dried. My only problem is that it makes too much for someone who cooks for herself only but too much is never really a big problem when you have a freezer. 🙂 (It took me about 2 hours total to prepare and cook this meal)

  • Made this tonight and was soooo good! Thanks for sharing it! I got nervous making it when was putting the pasta into the dish because it was not thick. Turned out great even past my insecurity as a beginner at cooking!

  • Just made this recipe and it was good, though it was lacking something. I followed it exactly as was said, only halving everything so it made one dish instead of two and while it was really good, there was just.. I don’t know we’re still trying to figure out what but it was missing something in the taste. It wasn’t salt but something similar, just something more to make it pop.

    • I have made this twice, 1st time i added a generous tsp of spanish smoked paprika, which was lovely, 2nd time i added (again a generous) tsp of chipotle paste, that gave it a smokey depth it lacked

    • Loved this! Not much of a mushroom fan so left it out. Added sauteed onions, fresh basil and italian seasoning.

  • can this entire recipe be cut in half?

  • mmmmm. I love baked pasta. cant wait to try this one. thank you .

  • Hi, found your recipe on Pinterest recently and made it the other night and it was absolutely amazing! I particularly loved the fact that it made enough to be frozen, so I had a dinner for a different day already prepared, which makes my life exponentially easier!

    I actually reviewed it on my blog, so feel free to check it out:

    Thank you for a fantastic recipe. 🙂

    Take care.


  • I was wondering if I could sub the whole milk for 1%? What do you think?

  • It should not affect it if you sub 2% for whole milk.

  • This recipe was supppperrrr good. It’s definitely just like in the restaurants. My hubby loved it. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  • This recipe was delicious. My kids said it was better than Olive Garden. Super delish! I used rotisserie chicken which gave it great flavor.

  • I love Olive Garden and anything chicken but I’m wondering and thinking – how awesome this would be with shrimp! Has any one tried it that way? Not sure how the shrimp would hold up in the oven for 1 1/2 hours….suggestions? Maybe cook it without the shrimp until the last 15 mins or so and then toss them in to cook the remaining time left? Awesome recipe by the way! :o) Thanks for sharing…

  • I found this recipe on Pinterest and saved it immediately, I’ll be making this in the next few weeks – thanks for sharing!

  • What kind of flour do you use?

  • Can you substitute 2% for the whole milk?

  • Can you substitute 2%? I’m not a big whole milk fan

  • This was amazing! My entire family loved it, which is very rare in this house of picky eaters. Thanks for sharing!

  • OMG, I made this for dinner and it was amazing!!! Even my 20 month old loved it and had a second helping. I didn’t even realize until I started cooking that it was enough for 2 dinners so now I have an extra meal in the freezer ready to go, bonus! =)

  • Thanks so much for this recipie. I am a new cook and I made this and really impressed my family! It made so much, we have dinner for a few days now.

  • Made this a while back and we loved it. Vegas gonna make again tonight but I dont have provolone. Will mozzarella work?

  • just made this, sans mushrooms and tomatoes, since my husband wont eat them. it was still fantastic! I was a little concerned when it went into the oven because it was SO liquidy, thinking since I had used 1% instead of whole milk I had screwed it up, but like I said, it turned out WONDERFUL! I am going to sautee some mushrooms and put them on top of my serving. Next time I think I will try the tomatoes, but they will have to be finely diced for the hubs lol.

  • WOW…I guess you shouldnt even be looking at recipes,,just go to resturants..ever here that saying \if you have nothing good to say ,dont say anything..lesson of the day for you

    • I second that thought, Nicole! I AM going to try it and if I don’t like it (which I doubt), I just won’t save the recipe! 😉 Thanks, Laura, for sharing the recipe and suggesting options…I have a hard time deviating from recipes but I’m trying to expand my cooking capabilities!

  • Doesn’t turn out like the picture…. The sauce is way too thick but this is an extremely cheesy dish. Just go to Olive Garden.

  • Made use of what I had, which included 2 cups lowfat milk and 1 cup lowfat condensed milk (made 1/2 recipe), mozarella cheese, & zucchini (in addition to mushroom) & no tomatoes since I didn’t have any. Seasoned chicken with garlic salt and italian seasoning. It was so good. My 9 and 6 year old wanted more and asked for some in their lunch tomorrow! Thank you!

  • I made this and we really enjoyed it. I also used some spinach, and nstead of sun-dried tomatoes, whcih I don’t care for, I added just a few diced up homemade roasted red pepper strips. Also seasoned the chicken with Italian seasoning. It was really easy, and I love knowing there’s another one in the freezer!

  • Made this tonight. Found it a little bland. I do not like tomatoes so I did not add them, so next time I will add another veggie with the mushrooms.

  • We made this tonight for dinner. The only change that I made was to take out the mushrooms (we aren’t big fans), and it was fantastic! Super easy, and I love that it made two meals! Even my husband gave it the ‘thumbs up’! Which is surprising, since he hates pasta… Thanks for a great meal!

  • This looks like a great family meal. Thanks for sharing!


  • isnt that to much butter its to much for me id put 4 tablespoons and a little more high quality shredded cheese its a great chicken bake.

  • I wanted to know about the garlic–garlic is not something we use alot of at my house. Fresh garlic, that is. But we can buy it already chopped up in a jar. Will this work? And what would be the equaivalent measurement? Thanks!

  • I found this Martha Stewart recipe as well and made it. We love it. The sun dried tomatoes give it such a nice flavor that I would really recommend you splurge on them. This is one of the dishes I make a lot in the winter. It’s to hot right now to fire up the stove. (or at least that’s what I tell myself) 🙂

    • I find that most people love sun-dried tomatoes if you just reconstitute them first. It’s kind of mind-blowing. Simply cover the portion that you need to use in your recipe in a bowl with hot water, microwave for 2 minutes, and let stand for 5 minutes. Then drain and chop/mince/whatever. It maintains the tomato flavor without being too chewy or too overpowering.

  • Made this for our family dinner; all the kids come over and they ALL loved it! I will be making this again! Thank you for sharing this on the world wide web =)

  • Can’t wait to try this. I was wondering what other pans would you recommend besides two one quart dishes since I dont have those. I have an 8×8 or 9×13 pan. I was hoping if a 9×13 pan was needed I could halve the recipe since I’m just making it for myself and don’t need a ton of leftovers! Thanks =)

  • I found this recipe on Pinterest. It looked good so I made it last night for my family. It was a total hit! They absolutely loved it! In fact, we have some leftovers for lunch today. Thank you, Laura!

  • I’m so excited to make this. I highlighted it in one of my directories today. Thank you.

  • I modified this on my blog. Don’t worry I give credit where it’s due. You’re the Real Mom, I made a Bizzaromom version 🙂

  • I made this tonight. It was delicious! I substituted provolone with emmental. I was dubious about the sun-dried tomatoes, but it was a nice surprise! thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Made this tonight, minus the mushrooms as my husband despises them, and it turned out very good. I am especially excited that I have an entire second dinner in the freezer! Perhaps not my favorite meal, but definitely good enough to add to the rotation.

  • I make a few alterations to appease my picky BF (no veggies, cook the chicken with some Italian herbs, and use a mix of asiago/white cheddar/parmesan for the cheese) and cut it down to single pan size. He absolutely LOVES this dish and will request it fairly regularly.

  • Found this recipe on pinterest the other day and it brought me here. Just made this tonight with a few little changes and YUM! Huge hit with everyone. Thanks for sharing. I posted a pic of mine on my blog today.

  • I just made this tonight and was quite surprised at how well it turned out! I figured it would be tasty just by looking at the ingredients but it was more than that, it was absolutely delicious! I changed around the cooking pots and pans but other than that stuck to the recipie. Side note: this is a “whole kitchen counter” kind of meal. Make sure you give yourself enough room and ample time!

  • I found your site through Pinterest (the Twix Bar recipe), and found this recipe. Made it last night, substituting Dreamfields Rotini (as I am low carb) and adding broccoli (and leaving the mushrooms and tomatoes).

    Very, very good. This on is a keeper!

  • Made this over the weekend with a few minor tweaks (had to sub sausage for chicken, skipped the mushrooms, and replaced a little of the provolone cheese for some mozzarella due to not having all ingredients on hand). Delicious!!! Definitely 2 thumbs up 🙂

  • I tried to follow this recipe exactly but had problems with the sauce. It thickened up REALLY fast and there really wasn’t enough liquid for the dish. Can I add more milk to fix it? The flavors and all were great though.

    • You could probably add more milk, but my grandmother always added a few ice cubes when her gravy started to thicken too quickly, so that might work too. Also, turning down your heat, or removing the pan from the heat for a few minutes (not too long) helps too.

    • I don’t know what my problem was but i followed the and still used less than 6cups milk, and my sauce didn’t thicken at all!

  • made this tonight, minus the tomatoes and my family, which includes kids, 6,5,4 and my husband, loved it. next time i will add some broccoli or spinach. thanks for the recipe!

  • Made this tonight…. my sister, her boys and my boyfriend all LOVED it!!! I used 1% milk instead of whole, margarine instead of butter and 1 can of petite diced tomatoes instead of sundried. yUMMY!!

  • My family will love this. I can’t wait to make it.

  • Very tasty! I added 1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg (always makes a cream sauce POP!) and 1/4 C rosé wine to the sauce. Fabulous!

  • Just made this for dinner. It wasso good! Un

    Instead of provolone, I used gruyere. Also, added some crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning. Will definitely be making this again!

  • I found this a little bland… would use more cheese next time.

  • I haven’t even gotten it out of the oven yet and my mouth is watering!! Smells de-lish!! Can’t wait for dinner to be done!

  • This was super!! FYI if you have two very hungry guys bake both pans we fed 7 and only had a small serving of left overs we all fought over ºÜº

  • I made this this week–and LOVED it. I even splurged for the sun-dried tomatoes–they were TOTALLY worth it. Loved it!

  • We had this tonight & it was sooo great! We substituted asparagus for the sun dried tomatoes… tasted better than restaurant quality!

  • I tried this recipe tonight with 1 cup spinach instead of the sun-dried tomatoes. (I couldn’t bring myself to pay that much for the tomatoes and I had some spinach left-over from making a salad.) It turned out really good. The whole family loved it – except for the child that doesn’t like parmesan cheese. Thanks for sharing.

  • I saw this recipe too, and made it last week. It was delicious, and relatively easy to make! I love that it made an extra pan to freeze for later. I think your suggestion to add broccoli or asparagus (or maybe even spinach?) is a great idea!

  • This dish sounds wonderful I am going to try it tonight!

  • The pictures of this dish look amazing!! I so want to make this tonight. I need to see if I have all the ingredients at home. Great recipe!

  • That sounds delicious!

  • Now that’s my kind of dinner! Beautiful Laura!!

  • You had me at “Cheesy!” Thanks Laura! This is my kind of meal!

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