Cheesy Baked Chicken Penne

A baked pasta dish that screams out loud of comfort with its creamy cheese sauce, tender pieces of white meat chicken and diced tomatoes.

Chances are you have everything on hand to make it right now. Yes, this very minute.

Everyone will love it, even the pickiest of eater! It’s like a long lost friend to mac and cheese.

The decadent white sauce is made with garlic, milk, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. If you have leftover chicken then you’ve scored, as it calls for cooked chicken and will save you a step in the preparation process. The tomatoes add a welcome pop of acidic flavor among all the creaminess that is just plain delicious.

You can split this up into two baking dishes and freeze one to use at a later time. But when that glorious, bubbling dish of pasta comes out of the oven you may be sorry you didn’t cook both! Seconds are a given. Fair warning.

Cheesy Baked Chicken Penne

Rating: 51

Yield: 8 servings

Cheesy Baked Chicken Penne

INGREDIENTS:

6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dish
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well and chopped into small pieces
1 + 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes or one 13×9. Cook pasta to al dente in plenty of salted water.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until juices run clear about 5 minutes per side or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 164-175 degrees F. Remove from pan and allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing into bite size pieces.
  3. In an extra large heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add tomatoes, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
  4. Stir chicken and pasta into cream sauce. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes or pour into one large one; sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan over top.
  5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Notes:

Adapted from Martha Stewart

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/creamy-baked-penne-with-chicken-and-tomatoes/

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