Baked pasta with chicken and tomatoes makes a delicious dinner.
This baked cheesy chicken penne pasta is comfort food at its finest! It is loaded with chicken, oven roasted tomatoes, and a rich creamy sauce.
Best of all, it can be made ahead of time and thrown in the oven about an hour before dinner. This baked pasta is a perfect freezer meal too!
This recipe makes a large amount. I usually divide the mixture into two separate baking dishes. Put one in the oven for dinner and put one in the freezer for later. Two dinners in one! Yahoo!!!
I have been trying to find additional ways to use up the tomatoes from our garden. I made a batch of oven roasted tomatoes and used them here. Oven roasting concentrates all that delicious tomato flavor.
You could also use sun dried tomatoes. I've used both the dried and the oil packed variety and they both work fine. The oven roasted tomatoes were perfect too.
Another popular pasta baked dish is Chicken Pasta Bake. It's similar to this pasta bake, but uses canned tomatoes instead.
How to make oven roasted tomatoes
- You need fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. Simply wash, core, and halve tomatoes.
- My tomatoes were huge (grapefruit sized) so I quartered them. If you use a small tomato, smaller than a roma, you can leave whole.
- Place tomatoes on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 2-3 hours. You want the tomatoes to be soft and just slightly caramelized.
- Keep an eye on your oven after the second hour.
- The cooking time depends on the size and juiciness of your tomatoes.
I also have an entire post dedicated to oven roasted tomatoes that are perfect for adding to this recipe.
To make this baked pasta you will need:
- penne pasta
- oven roasted tomatoes or a jar of oil packed sun dried tomatoes
- shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- shredded Parmesan cheese
- cooked chicken - this a perfect dish to use leftover chicken
Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne Pasta
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with water and set aside in large pot or bowl.
- In a large saute pan, add olive oil, butter and garlic over low heat. Saute just until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Add flour. Stir until just slightly browned (about 1 minute.)
- While whisking, add milk. Continue whisking over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Turn off heat and slowly whisk in Monterey Jack cheese and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
- Add roasted tomatoes and chicken. Stir just until combined.
- Pour cheese mixture over pasta and combine.
- Divide mixture and pour into two, 2 quart baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes, until bubbly and slightly browned.
- Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.
- To freeze, cover cooled mixture with foil and freeze. To bake, place frozen dish into a 400 degree oven, covered with foil. Bake for 1 ½ hours. Remove foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes until heated through.
Sun dried tomatoes can be used in place of oven roasted tomatoes.
Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites