Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baked Creamy Chicken Penne (with Mushrooms and Broccoli!)

This is delicious. Mmm, mmm, mmm! I mean... if you like cheese. Which I do. A lot. Really though... who doesn't like cheese? Everyone likes cheese. Therefore, everyone will like this casserole.

Recipe adapted from here.

6 tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 tsp olive oil
1 pound chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
2 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp oregano
10 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 cup broccoli florets, steamed
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400. Prepare one 9x11 dish or two 8x8 (2 quart) dishes with cooking spray.
2. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, 3 minutes short of al dente.
3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the pan until opaque throughout (about 3 to 5 minutes on each side).
4. Remove cooked chicken from the pan and chop into cubes. While the pan is still hot, toss in mushrooms and saute until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes) (you may need to add a little additional olive oil).
5. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and flour, and cook 1 minute while whisking. While continuously whisking, add in milk one cup at a time. Keep whisking as sauce thickens (about 1 minute).
6. Add parsley, oregano, mushrooms, and broccoli to the sauce mixture. Add pepper to taste. Cook while stirring for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
7. Add the Italian blend cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan to the sauce mixture and stir until cheese is incorporated.
8. Add chicken and pasta to the mushroom sauce. Stir to combine.
9. Spread the mixture into your pan(s).

IF COOKING IMMEDIATELY: Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan cheese on top of each 8x8 pan, or 1 cup parmesan cheese on top of the 9x11 pan. Bake uncovered until the top is golden and bubbling (about 25 minutes).

IF FREEZING: Keep the parmesan cheese in a plastic bag. Let the pasta mixture cool, then cover the pan with a double layer of plastic wrap, placing the cheese bag on top. Cover the entire thing with foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, preheat the over to 400 and remove the foil and plastic from the frozen pasta dish. Cover with foil and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Then, stir the pasta mixture and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top. Bake for an additional 15 minutes (or until the mixture is hot and bubbly throughout).

Chopping broccoli...

Boiling pasta...

Broccoli going in the steamer basket...

Pasta - 3 minutes short of al dente!

Garlic, flour and butter

Seasoned chicken!

Chopped mushrooms!

Sauce after adding milk...

Sauteed mushrooms!

Sauce after adding mushrooms...

Chopped chicken!

Adding in the broccoli and pasta and chicken...

Pan #1: Ready to go in the oven!

Pan #2: Ready to go in the freezer for later!

In the oven...

All done!

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