Colorful bell peppers stuffed with a skillet chicken ziti for a delicious twist that brings two classics together in an inventive new way.
The stuffing is made of diced tomato sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella with vegetable rotini pasta and bites of tender chicken.
The filling comes together in a skillet and then gets stuffed into the peppers and baked.
For ease, you can use leftover or rotisserie chicken but if you don’t have either on hand it’s simple to bake up the chicken while you’re making the sauce and pasta.
If you’re looking for a way to shake up your baked ziti routine then this is a great way to do it.
The natural sweetness of the peppers and the acidic tomatoes balance each other out and are perfect with the chicken and chewy pasta. Stuffing peppers is becoming routine in my house.
I love reinventing them.
- 1 + ¼ pounds chicken breast (about 2 + ½ cups cooked & chopped)
- coarse salt and fresh black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (14 ounce) cans petite-diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed between fingertips
- 6 ounces vegetable rotini pasta (or any medium-sized pasta)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 + ½ cups mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup half & half
- 6 bell peppers, sliced in half lengthwise or with the tops cut off, seeds removed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and bake until cooked through.
Meanwhilein a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-low heat and saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, about a teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir often.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions.
- On a cutting board slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Turn off the sauce and remove about ¾ cup of it - set it aside. Mix the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan and half & half into the sauce. Stir in the chicken and cooked pasta.
- Lightly grease the bottom of a deep-sided roasting pan and spread the cup of sauce in the bottom. Spoon the filling into the peppers and set them in the roasting pan, if they're touching that's ok.
- Cover with foil and bake 25 - 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the tops with mozzarella. Bake 10 - 15 more minutes.
Originally published in March 2014.