Friday, January 31, 2014

Italian Chicken Pasta Casserole Recipe

Italian Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

  • 1 Lb Short Cut Pasta (like penne, fusilli or ziti)
  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 Lb Pancetta, chopped (regular bacon would work too)
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 and 1/2 Cups Half & Half, 
  • 2 Cup Fontina Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 Tsp each Dried Oregano and Dried Basil
  • 1 Tsp each Onion Powder and Garlic Powder
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Pick the meat off of your rotisserie chicken and cut or shred it into reasonably bite-sized pieces. Of course, if you have your own cooked chicken, use that. Set it aside.

Fry the pancetta (or bacon) until it's just crisp. Remove it with a slotted spoon to a small paper towel lined plate or bowl and set it aside.

While you're doing the rest of your prep, cook your pasta according to the package directions, but remove it from the heat and drain it a few minutes before the package recommends. You want the pasta to be slightly undercooked, because it will continue to cook and absorb some of the sauce as it's baking in the oven.

In the same pan where you cooked the pancetta, saute the onions in the drippings, until they're soft and golden brown.
Add the pancetta and onions to the bowl of chicken and combine thoroughly. Set it aside to allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Shred the Fontina and Mozzarella and grate the Parmesan and toss them loosely together.

When the pasta is cooked and drained, combine it in a large mixing bowl with the half and half and add the dried herbs, onion and garlic powders and salt and pepper. Mix well.

When all of the ingredients have cooled off a little, add the chicken mixture to the pasta mixture and stir it well to combine.
Add all but one cup of your combined cheeses to the bowl and mix that in.

Pour the fully combined mixture into a large baking or casserole dish and add the remaining cheeses on top. I like to sprinkle a bit of the dried oregano, basil and other seasonings on top for a little extra color and flavor.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in your preheated oven, until the top is golden brown and bubbly all over. 

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