Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

Chicken Pasta Bake

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This chicken pasta bake is a cheesy, rich comforting dinner recipe with bold flavor from sun-dried tomatoes and capers.

I love a good baked pasta recipe, and this chicken pasta bake checks all the boxes. It’s cheesy, rich, and just a little briny and tangy. Best of all? It’s easy as anything to make.

Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

The key to this pasta bake recipe is a paste made from blitzing sun-dried tomatoes and capers in a food processor. This adds an irresistible tangy, briny undertone to the sauce.

What you need to make my pasta bake recipe:

To make this chicken pasta bake, you need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken: I use chicken thighs because they won’t dry out like breasts. I season them liberally with salt, pepper, and a good quality Italian seasoning blend.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and garlic: These are the aromatics of the sauce. I blitz them in a food processor to form a paste. I use an onion in the sauce as well, but this won’t be blended into the paste.
  • Whole peeled tomatoes: Use crushed tomatoes if you don’t have whole peeled. If you want to cut the simmer time in half, use your favorite store-bought tomato sauce instead.
  • Pasta: I love rigatoni, but any tubular pasta works in this pasta bake, so try it with ziti or penne. You could even use fusilli or rotini instead if you prefer.
  • Cheese: The best part! I add ricotta to the sauce, and I top the bake with grated mozzarella before baking. I finish the dish with finely grated Parmesan right before serving.
  • Fresh herbs: Top the bake with fresh parsley or basil leaves, depending on what you have available.

How to cook it:

  • Step 1: Start with the chicken. Dice up the boneless, skinless chicken thighs into bite-sized cubes. Season all over with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Add a few pinches of crushed red pepper for a little extra heat. Fry up the chicken in olive oil until mostly cooked through.
  • Step 2: While the chicken cooks, blitz the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and garlic in a food processor. Add the paste and the diced onion to the chicken and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  • Step 3: Simmer the sauce. Add whole peeled tomatoes to the chicken and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, mashing the tomatoes as they cook.
  • Step 4: Cook the pasta. As the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until 2 minutes under al dente.
  • Step 5: Assemble the bake! Add the cooked pasta to a large casserole dish, add the sauce, and toss to coat. Cover with mozzarella and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and browned.
  • Step 6: Let the bake stand for 5–10 minutes, and then serve it up! Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and garnish with fresh herbs.

I recommend serving this with my roasted broccoli and spinach. You can chuck the broccoli in the bottom rack of the oven as the pasta bake roasts!

Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

Cheesy, rich, and comforting, this chicken pasta bake is the perfect meal to add to your recipe rotation.
4.43 from 21 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Inactive time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 549kcal

Equipment

  • 2 Large pots
  • 9×12 Baking Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • tablespoons capers, drained
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup water or chicken stock
  • 28- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes or a 24-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • Pinch of sugar, if needed
  • 16 ounces rigatoni
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup loosely packed parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Cook the chicken:

  • Place the chicken in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and arrange in an even layer. Cook for 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through.

Make the sun-dried tomato paste:

  • Add sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and garlic cloves to a food processor. Pulse until finely minced. Set aside.

Simmer the sauce:

  • Add the sun-dried tomato paste and the yellow onion to the chicken and toss to coat. Cook for 4–5 minutes. Pour in ½ cup water or chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  • Add the whole peeled tomatoes or tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes if using whole peeled tomatoes or 15 minutes with jarred tomato sauce. Taste and add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, or a pinch of sugar if needed. If using whole peeled tomatoes, mash them as they cook.

Make the pasta:

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and the rigatoni. Cook until 2 minutes under al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a 9×12 baking dish.

Finish the sauce:

  • Add the ricotta cheese to the sauce and stir until melted and combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat.

Assemble the bake:

  • Spoon the sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15–20 minutes until browned and bubbly.

To serve:

  • Remove the pasta from the oven and let stand for 5–10 minutes. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and finish with freshly minced parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 16g | Sodium: 603mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 14mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @triedandtruerecipes or tag #triedandtruerecipes so I can feature you in my feed!

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