Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake combines all the comforting flavors of a baked pasta dish with cool ricotta cheese, robust pesto, and lots of Mozzarella cheese. A crowd-pleasing dish perfect for large dinner parties or Holiday dinners.
5 cups dry mezzi rigatoni pasta
2 medium sized chicken breasts, butterflied
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 24oz jar marinara sauce
1 8oz bag of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup whole milk Ricotta
1/3 cup pesto
1/2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring a salted of water to boil. Cook the mezze rigatoni according to box directions.
2. While the pasta is cooking, butterfly your chicken breasts, season with the garlic powder and sprinkle with salt. In a medium pan, heat a few drizzles of olive oil. Cook the chicken breasts 3-4 minutes per side until browned and no longer pink inside. I found 4 minutes per side was good for me. I also like to cut into the chicken and make sure it’s no longer pink. Once the chicken is cooked, shred into small pieces.
3. Once the pasta and the chicken are done, pour the pasta into a 9×13 dish or large casserole baking dish. Pour in the marinara sauce and stir to coat all the noodles. Pour in the shredded chicken and stir so it is blending evenly throughout the pasta. Next, cover the entire top of the dish with the shredded Mozarella cheese. Then in spoonfuls, dollop the ricotta cheese over top. Lastly, dollop the pesto overtop. I like to make sure the pesto is spooned on top of the ricotta not just on the noodles. Lastly, sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese.
4. Place dish under the broiler on high until the Mozzarella cheese has melted and is browned and bubbly. This can vary as it depends on how close your dish is to the heat source. Always keep a close eye on something under a broiler since it can burn very quickly. Once browned and bubbly, remove from the oven and take a knife or spoon and gently stir the ricotta and pesto together so it’s slightly swirled.
Keywords: chicken pesto pasta bake