Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cheesy Pesto and Chicken Pasta Bake in 30 Minutes!


Baked ziti is one of my all time favorite dishes, if not THE favorite.  It makes me think of special occasions growing up and has become my comfort food extraordinaire.  I love to take the classic baked ziti and twist it up.  With cravings for comfort food and a garden full of basil, there was only one thing to do. 

Yield: 4
Author: Donna Elick
Cheesy Pesto and Chicken Pasta Bake in 30 Minutes

Cheesy Pesto and Chicken Pasta Bake in 30 Minutes

Clocking in at 30 minutes from prep to plate, I couldn’t ask for much more!
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 30 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried ziti or penne pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cup milk
  • 8 ounces pesto (If using store bought pesto, start with 4 oz and add a little at a time, to taste)
  • 8 ounces shredded Italian cheese blend (mozzarella, start with 4 oz and add a little at a time, to taste) provolone, romano, fontina, asiago, and parmesan)
  • 12 ounces precooked chicken, diced
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce (or favorite pasta sauce)
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 5 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, start with 4 ounces and add a little at a time, to taste) provolone, romano, fontina, asiago, and parmesan) grated, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add a handful of salt. Cook pasta to al dente; meaning it still has a little bite to it. Al dente pasta absorbs sauce better while it cooks and this is going into the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan (about 4 quarts) over medium heat, melt butter, add flour and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes to cook out the "flour-y" taste. Add milk whisk to combine. Add pesto and whisk together. Once combined add Italian cheese and ½ of Parmesan cheese. Stir with a spoon to combine. Allow to simmer until pasta is cooked.
  4. Add chicken to the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and pour pesto cheese sauce over top. Add pasta. Stir to combine and mix well. Smooth pasta with a spoon and pour tomato sauce over top. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and remaining parmesan cheese on the top.
  5. Place baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve and enjoy!




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4 comments:

  1. cheesy pesto? Awesome. I like this idea alot I am going to use it on more than just pasta:) like everything

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  2. The cold temps last week finished off my basil :(

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  3. I just made the cheesy pesto chicken pasta and it was AMAZING! Way better than Olive Garden! My husband's new favorite:) Thanks for sharing!!

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  4. I just made the cheesy pesto chicken pasta and it was AMAZING! Seriously this was way better than Olive Garden and it's my husband new favorite dinner:) Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete

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