Cheesy Pesto and Chicken Pasta Bake in 30 minutes is loaded with pre-cooked chicken, cheese, tomato sauce.
Cheesy Pesto and Chicken Pasta Bake
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.
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30 Minute Cheesy Pesto Pasta Bake with Chicken
- 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, provolone, romano, fontina, asiago, and parmesan) start with 4 oz and add a little at a time, to taste
- 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), grated, divided
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.