Baked Penne with Chicken

Prep Time: 35 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour | Yield: 2 casseroles

Ingredients:

  • 6 TBSP butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate or any other pasta
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)
  • Red pepper flakes (start with 1/2 tsp next time and see)
  • Italian seasoning (start with 1/2 tsp next time and see)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high.
  5. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
    Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.
    Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Notes:

This is great to make and freeze the extra casserole. It is a bit bland for my taste, so next time I would add some red pepper flakes and more seasoning.

To Freeze: Prepare through step 4; let cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze, up to 3 months.

To Bake From Frozen: Preheat oven to 400, and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.

Recipe Origin: This is our adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe.

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