This recipe was another new one for us. I found it online in a selection of freeze-able dinners. I will have to say it took a bit more fussing with than I care for BUT when I remind myself that now I have a meal in the freezer that I just have to put in the oven, the extra fussing was all worth it. Everyone enjoyed the recipe. We served it with a green salad, apple slices and crescent rolls–oh and some good old Southern Sweet Tea!
Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 8 or makes two dishes, each with 4 servings
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes (I had a foil container to use for the freezer portion)
Bring a large pot of water to boil and then add:
- a bit of salt
- 1 lb of penne rigate
Cook the pasta until just short of al dente (for me this was about 8 minutes).
Drain pasta and return to the pot.
In a large nonstick skillet heat:
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
Place into the skillet and cook until opaque throughout:
- 8 to 11 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Once the chicken is cooked, slice thinly crosswise making small little bites of chicken. Set aside.
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot melt:
- 6 Tablespoons of butter
Add to the butter and whisk for one minute:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (leveled)
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (leveled)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
While whisking, gradually add:
- 6 cups of milk
Add to the milk mixture and then cook for 1 minute:
- 10 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced (Brad and I both said we would like more of these next time so maybe add 3/4 cup or even a whole cup)
Take off the heat and stir in:
- 2 cups of Italian mix cheese (The recipe calls for just shredded provolone, but the store didn’t have it so I bought an Italian mix)
Add to the pot:
- cooked pasta
- cooked and sliced chicken
- season with salt and pepper
Divide the pasta mixture between the two prepared baking dishes.
Sprinkle each with:
- a cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
To freeze one or both:
Don’t bake but rather allow the dish to cool and then cover tightly with foil. I then like to write with sharpie what is in the dish and cooking directions. I also wrote that this stays fresh for 3 months and wrote today’s date.
When you are ready to bake one from the freezer—prepare ahead 😉 The recipe says to preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours. Then remove the foil and bake until golden, about 15 more minutes (so yes, that is almost 2 hours in the oven….but remember- now all you have to do is whip up a salad and slice up some fruit!).