Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pasta with Chicken and Spinach

This is great comfort food! I don't think winter is ever leaving, so we might as well enjoy another cold weather dish! When I made this, I realized that the 2 of us would be eating it for a month, so I shared with my daughter's family. They are the ones with the new baby, so it was definitely appreciated ( along with the fact that I delivered it and stayed for a few days to help out! )

Pasta with Spinach and Chicken

10 ounces pasta ( ziti, rotini, bow tie, etc) cooked and drained
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms
4 ounces cream cheese
1 (8-oz) carton ricotta
1 cup milk, heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 cups cooked chicken (cubed or shredded)
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
Fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
 Heat butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes to slightly soften veggies. Do not brown. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft.
Stir in cream cheese until melted.  Reduce heat to low. Stir in ricotta, milk, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until everything is well-combined and melted. Turn off heat.
Combine the pasta, chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a large bowl.
Add in the sauce and gently stir to coat.
Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake uncovered for about 20 -25 minutes ... or until casserole is bubbly and beginning to brown. Top with basil or parsley for garnish.

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