Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake

My family loves pasta dishes, so I make them often! This has become a favorite of mine to make because it's so easy, it has all of the Rasico's favorite flavors, and leftovers are always requested for later.

 
When I met my husband, I had a job waiting tables in an Italian restaurant. I was also a trainer, so I taught new servers about Italian culture and gave them tests on the menu items and made sure they knew how every dish was prepared, because the menu was pretty unusual, and customers would have questions. The kitchen was open, so part of training was watching the items get prepared. Needless to say, I learned how to cook a lot of Italian food this way.

You can use any pasta in this dish. I chose mini penne because it's bite sized, and my husband is not a big fan of angel hair. I came up with this dish because he recently ordered the traditional chicken parmesan dish at an Italian restaurant, so I wanted to prepare something similar at home that he could pack up for later and take to work with him. This Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake would also be a great dish to prepare for gatherings where everyone is pitching in. 

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups of uncooked pasta
  • 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of Italian blend cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herbs
  • 1 can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes
  • Torn basil, for garnish
Directions:
  1. Bake the chicken for 25 - 35 minutes at 425 degrees, or until done. Let cool, then shred. 
  2. Prepare the pasta per package instructions, until al dente. Drain. 
  3. Combine chicken, pasta, and crushed tomatoes. Add Italian herbs and mix.
  4. Spray a square baking dish with oil, then preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Spread half of the pasta mixture into the dish. 
  6. Top with half of the cheese, then the other half of the pasta mixture.
  7. Top with the remaining cheese, then bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  8. Let rest 10 minutes, then garnish with torn basil and serve.

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