Baked Chicken, Broccoli, and Mozzarella Pasta

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

If you are looking for a new dinner recipe that is both healthy and delicious, look no further! This meal is packed with protein and veggies, and it is easy to add more to the meal if you so wish.

Ingredients:

Topping
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
Filling
  • 1 1/2 lbs broccoli florets, trimmed into 1/inch pieces
  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless chicken breasts, bite-sized pieces
  • 3 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 8 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and melted butter, and set aside. Grease 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon of salt and the broccoli, and cook until bright green, about 1 minute. Remove broccoli and set aside. Don’t drain water.
  3. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Wipe pot dry and add the remaining olive oil. Return to medium heat until the oil starts shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened and it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme, cook until fragrant while stirring constantly.
  5. Add flour, salt, and pepper, and cook until golden, stirring consistently. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream and bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella.
  6. Add cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce and combine. Transfer pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the panko bread crumbs. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and crumbs are lightly brown. Serve.

Tips

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…SHRED YOUR OWN CHEESE!
  • Smoked gouda works for a great substitute for mozzarella!

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