Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baked Penne with Broccoli, Chicken & Smoked Cheddar

Oh me oh my this pasta is Aaa-mazing!  When I came across this recipe
over at Mels Kitchen Cafe I knew I had to make it immediately!
And just as I thought, it was absolutely Divine. A must make in my book!
This recipe most definitely will become a regular in our home. Thanks Melanie.

For the Bread Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup Bread Crumbs (I used store-bought but you could always make your own)
2 Tbsp. butter (melted)

For the Filling:
1 Large stalk of Broccoli (about 1-1/2 lbs)
12 oz. Penne Pasta
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 medium onion (minced)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tsp. dried Thyme
1/4 cup flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 lbs. Chicken Breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
3 oz smoked Cheddar (the original recipe called for smoked Mozzarella which I couldn't find so I used cheddar and loved it)
8 oz jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained and chopped)

Preheat the oven to *400 degrees. In a large pot, bring water (enough for the pasta) to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil place the chopped broccoli into the water and let cook for about 1-2 minutes (be careful cause the broccoli cooks fast. When it turns a bright green color it is ready) Remove with a slotted spoon and let it cool. Return the water to a boil and cook the pasta till it is al dente. (about a minute or two less than the original cook time allows). Drain the pasta and toss with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Let sit in the colander while you prepare the sauce.

Using the same pot, add the remaining Tbsp of oil and return to a medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook till fragrant and begins to brown a bit. About 4-5 minutes. Next, stir in the garlic and thyme, also cooking till fragrant about 30 seconds stirring constantly.  Add in the flour, salt, and pepper and stir for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream, bringing to a light boil then turn the heat down a bit (low-med) and let simmer, stirring frequently.  Add in the chicken and cook (also stirring frequently, I know lots of stirring but its so worth it!) about 6-8 minutes.  Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked cheese. Stir till well combined.

Lastly, add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce and stir till well combined.  Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared 9x13 baking dish and top off with the bread crumb mixture.  Bake until the casserole is bubbly and the bread crumbs are slightly browned (about 15-20 minutes).  Serve with this salad and some french bread for dipping.
(Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe)


  1. Mmmm.. I saw this when Mel posted it and wanted to make it but forgot about it! Thanks for reminding me! It looks sooo dee-lish!! : )


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