Chicken parmesan pasta bake combines classic Chicken Parm with pasta and a creamy sauce for a delectable, easy dinner recipe.
I’ve been having one of those weeks. You know the one. The one where you know you should be working but the inspiration levels are lower than low and you would rather be watching reruns of Friends while eating ice cream than actually getting off your ass and doing something. That has been me, all week.
I think it might be something to do with the seasons changing (anything for me not to admit that I’m just a lazy bum). The chilly weather we’ve been experiencing is more “eating-weather” than “cooking-weather” and that’s the conundrum. I am the cook, so when I feel like lying under a blanket and being fed comfort food, no-one is going to get up and do it for me. SO, I have been finding ways lately to maximize on my laziness by prepping two dinners at one time. Take this pasta for instance, the chicken in it was left-overs from the roast chicken we had the night before. I simply cubed it, mixed it in with a rich red tomato sauce, tons of cheese and some fresh basil.
The sauce is also a cheat. You see, canned tomatoes and I are pretty much best friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh tomatoes but there is a depth and richness that you can only get with tinned tomatoes, something you’ll have to take hours to recreate when using fresh tomatoes. It takes all of 2 seconds to open the can and to add some flavour. I mixed the chopped tomatoes with a squeeze of tomato paste (from a tube), dried oregano, a pinch of smoked paprika for even more flavour, a little sugar and salt. Awesome tomato sauce, in a flash.
I mixed this awesome sauce with the cooked pasta, cubed chicken and then added fresh basil and lots of mozzarella cheese to enhance that “parmigiana” feel of the dish. The end result was a pasta that took minutes to knock together (something that is greatly appreciated when you’re feeling lazy/are too busy to faff around in the kitchen) and impressed my family so much, the demanded it be put on regular rotation for dinner. So not only did I get to be lazy, my kids also thought I was the ultimate mom. Life goals, no?
- 2x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 500g pasta (I used rigatoni), cooked
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- extra grated mozzarella, for topping
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
- Combine the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, sugar, salt and pepper then stir to combine.
- Combine the cooked chicken, cooked pasta and sauce in a large bowl and mix well.
- Layer the pasta with the grated cheese and fresh basil in an oven-proof dish.
- Top with extra grated mozzarella cheese then place in the oven.
- Allow to bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven then serve with extra fresh basil leaves.
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