Cheesy Baked Pasta with Chicken
I love baked pasta dishes and this Chicken Pasta Bake is delicious!
Pasta is comfort food and this creamy chicken pasta is no exception. All that cheesy goodness along with chunks of chicken is just pure yumminess. This dish is a hit with my family.
I love serving a delicious hearty meal that’s easy to prepare. If you have any leftovers, they are equally delicious reheated the next day!
What is a pasta bake?
A pasta bake is pasta mixed with sauce and placed into a casserole dish and baked. There are thousands of versions of bakes. The best part is these bakes can be assembled ahead of time and then baked when it’s dinner time.
Can I make this pasta bake ahead of time?
Yes, you can make it ahead of time. Assemble the casserole, but instead of putting it in the oven, cover casserole and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake. May need to increase baking time by 15 minutes.
Can this chicken pasta bake be frozen?
Yes! I usually divide this recipe into two casserole dishes. I use one for dinner and freeze one for later. Two meals and I only had to prep once! To use a frozen bake, I pull it out of the freezer in the morning and bake in the evening.
The pasta will still be slightly frozen and you will need to increase the baking time by 30- 45 minutes.
What ingredients are needed for chicken pasta bake?
- Pasta – I used a small penne pasta
- Cooked chicken – you can use leftover chicken or cook up a couple of chicken breasts
- Shredded cheese – Monterey Jack and Parmesan
- Canned chopped tomatoes
- Olive Oil
Can I use a different shape of pasta?
You bet! Many times I use whatever I have on hand. Some options include macaroni, ziti, fusilli and fettuccini. Almost any type of past is fine, although dainty pasta like angel hair will not hold up to the baking and sauce.
I’ve made baked pastas in the past. One of our favorites is Creamy Chicken Penne Pasta. I was actually planning on making that pasta bake when I realized I didn’t have any oven roasted tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes.
Since pasta bakes are so versatile, I changed it up a bit. I used a can of drained chopped tomatoes and added a few different herbs.
What should I serve with this baked pasta?
Creamy pasta with chunks of chicken
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 4 cups Cooked chicken chopped
- 1 can Chopped tomatoes 28 oz can
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.
In a sauce pan over medium heat combine oil and flour. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
Whisk in flour and continue heating over medium heat stirring for 2-3 minutes.
Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
Whisk in milk. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often. When milk begins to simmer, it will begin to thicken. Do not boil.
Once milk is thickened, add salt, pepper, Italian seasonings and red pepper flakes.
Turn heat to low and whisk in cheeses.
Add tomatoes and chicken. Fold in carefully.
Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Pour cheese mixture over pasta and stir carefully so all pasta is coated with sauce.
Spray two casserole dishes with a non stick spray. Divide pasta mixture evenly into both dishes.
Top with remaining Parmesan cheese
Bake uncovered in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Allow casserole to fully cool. Wrap in foil and place in freezer. To use, remove from freezer and allow to partially thaw for at least 6 hours. Bake as directed increasing cook time by 30 - 45 minutes.