food fanatic.bookaholic.mommy

Baked Pesto Chicken Pasta

This is another recipe that falls in the category of quick & easy weeknight dinners. I first made this recipe when my son was just a few weeks old. It was one of my first jumps back into the world of cooking after a long break during my pregnancy and early days of motherhood. 

In the past 9 months I’ve made this pasta dish at least a half-dozen times more. It just comes together so easily and is very open to improvisation. I’ve added some veggies at time or change the pesto/tomato ratios.

Baked Chicken Pesto Pasta

(adapted from recipe in Food & Wine magazine)

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 2 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade pesto
  • 3/4 pounds medium pasta shells (or ziti)
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a large baking dish (~9 by 13 inches).
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over moderately low heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the ground chicken and cook, breaking it up, until the meat is no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and salt to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until just done, according to package directions.
  6. Drain and toss pasta with the sauce. Put half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with half the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining pasta and cheese.
  7. Bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Pesto

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