One of my kids is not a big fan of ricotta cheese, which leaves me searching for alternatives when I'm in the mood for a big pan of lasagna or baked ziti.
I started searching for creamy baked pasta dishes the other week and landed on this one from howsweeteats.com, which includes chicken, pasta, tomatoes and cream (or, in my case, canned evaporated milk).
I made it my own, adding one pound of penne pasta, a jar of spaghetti sauce and increasing the amount of cream/canned milk. Here's my version. It's a great recipe for leftover chicken and veggies that might be hanging around the refrigerator. And it's an easy one to whip up on a week night especially if you prep the veggies and pasta the night before and the chicken is already cooked.
Baked Chicken Pasta
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut up into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup cream or canned evaporated milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese to cover top of casserole. I used about a cup.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the directions.
Saute the onions and peppers in the olive oil until they are soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, cream and Parmesan cheese. Then add the pasta and cooked chicken. Stir.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish and top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the casserole is warm all the way through.
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