Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne

Another Pinterest recipe, by Real Mom Kitchen, that I made over the weekend.  Not only is it delicious but it is great to share, it makes enough for two 2-quart casseroles.  So make one for you and share the love!

6 Tablespoons Butter
Kosher Salt and Pepper
1 lb. Penne Rigate Pasta
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
2 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless, approx. 8 oz. each)
1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Flour
6 Garlic Cloves (finely minced)
6 Cups Whole Milk
10 oz. White Mushrooms (trimmed and thinly sliced)
1 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes (sliced, oil-packed, drained)
1-1/2 Cups Kraft Italian Shredded Cheese
1-1/2 Cups Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray two 2-quart baking dishes with Olive Oil. 

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta and set aside.

While pasta is boiling, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. 

While chicken pan is still hot, toss the mushrooms in and saute until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  Use a little extra olive oil if needed.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour, and garlic; cook, whisking for 1 minute.  While whisking constantly, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer.  Keep whisking frequently as sauce thickens, about 1 minute more.  Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook for 1 minute.  Take pan off the heat and gradually stir in cheeses.

Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Divide pasta mixture between the two baking dishes. 

Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

To freeze, cover pan well with foil.  Freeze up to 3 months.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400.  Bake for 1 - 1/2 hours.  Remove foil and stir pasta.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly throughout.


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