Chicken, Cheese, and Penne Pasta Bake

Chicken, Cheese, and Penne Pasta Bake
The Spruce
Ratings (53)
  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings

Lots of melty cheese and a simple sauce brings this chicken and pasta together for a tasty and satisfying family meal. Artichokes and mushrooms add nutritional value and texture to the dish. 

Feel free to adapt the casserole ingredients with what you have on hand and to suit your tastes. A combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses—or a pizza blend—is a good alternative to all mozzarella. While there's no good substitute for the earthy flavor of mushrooms, they can be replaced with another vegetable; add about 1 cup of sliced celery or onions to the skillet and saute it along with the chicken. Steamed sliced asparagus, broccoli, peas, or mixed vegetables are suitable replacements for the artichokes. For extra color, consider a few tablespoons of chopped pimiento or add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper to the skillet along with the chicken.

The casserole makes a fantastic dinner with a Caesar salad or spring greens. Toast some garlic bread to go with the meal and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (boneless, cut into small cubes)
  • 6 to 8 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning (or a seasoned salt blend)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half (or whole milk)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded, divided)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded, divided; about 3/4 cup grated)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 package artichokes (quarters or halves, cooked from frozen; or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained)
  • Optional: paprika

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Heat oven to 350 F.

  3. Grease a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Cook the penne pasta in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, mushrooms, and Creole seasoning.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the mushrooms are lightly browned, stirring frequently.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Remove the chicken and mushroom mixture to a bowl and set aside.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Melt the butter in the same skillet and add the minced garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Blend the flour into the butter mixture until smooth and bubbly.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  10. Continue to cook the flour and butter roux for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  11. Add the milk and chicken broth and continue to cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  12. To the sauce, add 1 1/2 cups of the Mozzarella cheese and about half of the Parmesan cheese; cook until the cheese has melted, stirring constantly.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  13. Stir in the chicken and mushroom mixture and the artichokes. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  14. Combine the sauce and pasta; transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses and sprinkle lightly with paprika, if using.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce
  15. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.

    Penne Pasta Bake recipe
     The Spruce

Tips

Make It Ahead: Prepare the casserole as directed, but do not bake it. Cover the casserole with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. On baking day, remove the casserole from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F and bake the casserole, covered, for about 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly.