I'm always on the lookout for a good casserole recipe. It seems like there are always church potlucks, or a family get together, or a friend having a baby where I need to come up with a good hearty freezer-friendly meal. I get tired of making the usual lasagna, baked ziti, chicken spaghetti, standards that I always seem to turn to for these events, so when I see casseroles that catch my eye, I always flag them to test out.
I saw this recipe for Baked Pasta with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and thought it sounded great for a comforting and hearty casserole. Plus, it has the added bonus of being able to be baked right out of the freezer. This makes a huge casserole so if you aren't taking this somewhere, you can always divide this into 2 dishes and make one immediately and freeze one for later.
This casserole was creamy, with the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic adding a nice flavor to the sauce. If you like fettuccine alfredo, you will love this. It really reminded me of a perfect cross between macaroni and cheese and fettuccine alfredo and really, can you go wrong with that?
6 Tbs. butter, plus more for baking dishes
salt and pepper
1 pound penne rigate or ziti
1 tsp. olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (8 oz. each), halved horizontally
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
10 oz. 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 oz.)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided (4 oz).
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 2 shallow 2-quart baking dishes or one large 9x13 casserole dish. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, 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 mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
4. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
5. Bake uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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 degrees F, 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 from Everyday Food