Italian Baked Chicken & Pastina

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My husband actually found this meal! Michael was browsing the Food Network website one day a few weeks ago and came across this recipe from Giada Bobblehead De Laurentiis.

Reading the measurements for the recipe, it was clear to me that we would need to double it to make a normal sized dinner. As I've mentioned before, we like to have leftovers.

This recipe is so simple (not many ingredients), it was hard to believe that it would really be all that tasty. But I was pleasantly surprised. Using a tip given by someone in the reviews of the recipe, I made sure to buy diced tomatoes that were Italian seasoned so that the tomatoes were already infused with flavor.

Making this meal creates a LOT of dirty dishes. The nice thing, however, is that you can finish up all of the dishes and cleanup while it is baking, resulting in very little fuss after dinner (very nice!).

Italian Baked Chicken & Pastina
(Source: Giada De Laurentiis, "Everyday Italian")

- 1 box small pasta (we used a 14 oz. box of Whole Wheat Barilla Rotini)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
- 1 cup diced onion (about one small onion)
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (30-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (get the ones with Italian seasoning! i.e. basil, olive oil, garlic, etc.)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (we used a small handful of dried parsley instead)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish (we omitted the butter and just used olive oil cooking spray for the baking dish)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

3. Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes.

4. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

5. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered (or greased with cooking spray) 9" x 13" x 2" baking dish.

6. In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter (optional).

7. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

P.S. Today was the 7th anniversary of the night Michael and I met. Crazy!


Nicole February 24, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

We made this last week, too! I don't watch Giadia's show, but I love her recipes. It was very tasty and made for excellent leftovers.

Lis February 24, 2009 at 11:54 AM  

Congrats on your meeting anniversary!!

I want to make this now.. maybe tomorrow night! It looks simply amazing!!! :) Thanks so much for sharing!

That Fresh Feeling February 24, 2009 at 3:49 PM  

yum that looks delicious thanks for posting the recipe:-)

Lynsey Kaye February 25, 2009 at 1:15 PM  

Yum! That looks really good. We are going to have to try it sometime.

Also, you have been tagged. Check out my blog for more info. :)

My name is Heather. February 26, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

Hi! I wanted to let you know that I started following your blog. I randomly linked to it from the WC board on thenest. I hope you don't mind. We seem to have a lot in common!

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