Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

I found this recipe on Pintrest.  It calls for Smoked Mozzarella but I couldn't find any at the store.  I figured it was more important to have that smokey flavor than the mozzarella flavor so I made it with Provolone.  It turned out really good.

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella 


  • 3/4c bread crumbs (if you want to avoid the PHO & HFCS you'll need to make your own)
  • 2T butter, melted
  • 1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/2lbs), stalks cut off, florets trimmed into 1-inch pieces
  • 12oz penne pasta
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 1t dried thyme
  • 1/4c all-purpose flour
  • 2c chicken broth
  • 1c heavy cream
  • 1t salt
  • 1/2t pepper
  • 1 1/2lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3oz smoked mozzarella, shredded
  • 8oz jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped into pieces (I omitted these because my husband hates tomatoes)
* In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside.  Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

* Preheat the oven to 400' and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven.  In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil.  Stir in one tablespoon salt and the broccoli.  The broccoli cooks quickly so stay close!  Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green.  Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate.  Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven).  Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1T olive oil.  Leave in the colander and set aside.

* Wipe the pot dry.  Add the remaining 1T oil and return to medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic & thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the flour, salt & pepper and cook , stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the broth and cream; bring to a simmer, whisking often.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.  Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella.

*Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine.  Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping.  Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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