Even when the weather is warm, sometimes I still find myself craving a big bowl of comforting baked pasta. But, it’s nice to switch it up from the standard red sauce and ricotta cheese variety. When I came across a recipe a couple of months ago in a recent issue of Taste of Home, I thought I’d give it a try.
I did end up changing it a bit, mainly by adding chicken as well as a dose of homemade Alfredo sauce to the pasta bake. I loved all the flavors together, almost reminiscent of a spinach-artichoke dip. It was pretty easy to bring together too, as it doesn’t require all the layering that something like a traditional lasagna would.
I had leftover roasted chicken from the night before, so I just used that – but a store-bought rotisserie chicken would be ideal for this application. Or you could certainly use boneless skinless chicken breasts that you roasted or sauteed as well. Whatever works best for you!
I kept it simple and just served it with a salad topped with a light lemon vinaigrette. Everyone really enjoyed it, and with most baked pastas the leftovers were even better the next day for lunch.
Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake
16 oz rigatoni pasta
1 batch Alfredo sauce (or 1 jar of your favorite store-bought brand)
3 cups cooked chicken, roughly chopped or shredded
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach
1 (14 oz) can water-packed quartered artichoke hearts, drained
8 oz whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
Boil a large pot of water and season with 1 Tbsp salt. Add pasta and cook for 7 minutes. Drain and return back to large pot.
Add the sauce, chicken, spinach, artichokes, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper to the pasta. Stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Pour half of the pasta into the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Add the remaining pasta and top with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn on broiler. Remove foil and place pasta under broiler for about 3 minutes or so, until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Source: adapted from Taste of Home Magazine, February/March 2014