Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta


Chicken Parmesan is and always will be one of the most crowd-pleasing dishes out there.  It's crispy, cheesy, and just all-around awesome.  And while I will never tire of the classic breaded chicken smothered in cheese and marinara, I'm always on the lookout for fun and new spins on the dish.  I like eating it as a sandwich, kind of deconstructed in a salad, as a pizza.... the options are endless.

This baked pasta dish is yet another variation on chicken parmesan, but it is streamlined and simple, and only dirties a few dishes.  One of the things I hate about making chicken parmesan is that I feel like it takes forever and dirties a dozen dishes.

This version is made in one big skillet, then popped in the oven briefly just to melt the cheese and heat everything through.  It calls for using frozen breaded chicken cutlets, but I don't ever buy those, so I just had Joey pick up some chicken tenders from the deli on his way home.  Another shortcut that saves time, energy, and dishes.

This dinner was so so easy, and even more importantly, it was super tasty.  We all devoured it, and I enjoyed the leftovers for a few days afterward.

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta
adapted from America's Test Kitchen, Pasta Revolution
serves 4-6

  • 1 (28-oz) can whole peeled fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh oregano (or 1/4 tsp dried)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 oz. pasta shapes (ziti, penne, etc)
  • 2 oz grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken tenders, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Pulse the tomatoes and their juices in the food processor until coarsely ground, about 12 pulses.

Cook the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in the tomatoes, water, 1 cup of the broth, and the pasta.  Bring to a vigorous simmer, cover, and cook until pasta is tender, 15 to 18 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the chopped chicken.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.  If the pasta seems dry, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of broth.  Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.  Bake 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Sprinkle with basil and serve.


Eileen said...

That looks so homey and comforting. I wouldn't mind a big plate on a rainy night. :)

Laura said...

Yum, seems like it would be not quite as heavy as chicken parm too. Looks great!

Unknown said...

Looks delicious! I love easy, tasty dishes with leftovers for lunch! Thanks!

Joanne said...

Not gonna lie, if I were ever to eat meat again, a chicken parm sandwich would be one of the first things I'd eat. Love this pasta bake!

Nicole, RD said...

I agree. There's something about chicken parmesan that is the absolute best. This will be made...soon!

Rachel said...

Yum!! This is going on the very, very short list for dinner this week.

Zee said...

Love this baked pasta! I'm feeling hungry now.. There's no better combo than chicken and Parmesan!

Bryan and YiRan said...

Wow what a creative idea! I love it.

Gloria Baker said...

Love this delicious!!

Laura said...

I love any parm dish. Cannot wait to try this soon! I bet it would be delicious with eggplant as well.

Jessica said...

I love baked pastas, so comforting. This sounds especially delicious.

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

hi, i'm new to you blog! i got here by clicking and clicking through people's comments! i love how girly and sassy your blog is! and did you say chicken parmesan pasta bake??? brilliant! i'm officially in love!

Tina | My Life as a Mrs said...

yes please!!! I'm a huge chicken parm fan... always love a twist on a classic :)

Anonymous said...

Are the "cooked" chicken tenders supposed to be the pre-cooked, frozen chicken tenders you can get at a grocery store? If so, are you supposed to put them in while still frozen (they're already "cooked"), or are you supposed to follow the package directions to "cook" them yourself before putting them into the pasta bake?

Anonymous said...

Update: I made this tonight with precooked unfrozen chicken tenders, and it turned out fine, but I think if I had baked the tenders before putting them into the pasta, they would have had a nice crispiness that it didn't have at all. Next time I'll definitely cooking the chicken tenders before using them in this recipe.

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john said...

This is a very exciting blog as I love to taste all those varieties of pasta whenever I visit a restaurant. Also the type of chicken that you have included here will be really liked by everyone as it itself can impart a large amount of protein to the recipe.

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