Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake
- 10 ounces dry pasta (I used a combination of rotini, farfalle and penne. Any similar size would work.)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ounces chive and onion cream cheese
- 1 cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
- 1 cup whole milk, heavy cream or half-and-half (I used half-and-half)
- 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 2 cups cooked chicken (cubed or shredded)
- 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, cut into large chunks (I used grape tomatoes sliced in half)
- Fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
Level of difficulty Average
Cooking time 20mins
Cost Average budget
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a medium casserole dish with non-stick spray. (Mine was a 10" round, but a 9 x 13 would work fine.)
Cook pasta in salted, boiling water to al dente. Drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, heat butter in a medium saute pan set to medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes to slightly soften veggies. Do not brown.
Add in cream cheese and stir to melt. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sour cream, milk, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until everything is well-combined and melted. Turn off heat.
Combine the pasta, chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add in the sauce and gently stir to coat.
Pour into the prepared baking dish. (I drizzled in a little more half-and-half over the mixture once it was in the baking dish because it looked a little dry to me.) Top with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake uncovered for about 20 -25 minutes ... or until casserole is bubbly and beginning to brown. Top with basil or parsley for garnish.
In order for the pasta bake to not dry out, I place the baking dish on a sheet pan and add 1 - 2 cups of very hot water to the sheet pan once in the oven. This will create steam during the baking process and will help to keep everything moist.
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