September 16, 2013

Baked Pasta with Chicken, Tomato, Basil, & Mozzarella

Baked pastaThere’s something about pulling a dish out of the oven that just seems kind of exciting, don’t you think? Maybe it’s that there’s a certain risk involved whenever you stick something in the oven, and that risk triggers a sort of adrenaline rush in us domesticated folk. And when you have a crappy oven like me with no viewing window, that risk gets even greater. You have no idea how things are coming along in there until you open the oven door at the end and you either sigh with relief and satisfaction, or you select a good curse word and proclaim to the family that you’re all going for take-out. Yes, using the oven can be risky. But let’s just fancy ourselves adrenaline junkies and enjoy the thrill, shall we? And I promise, the recipe I’m sharing today is really hard to mess up, so don’t you worry. :)

Today I will share with you a most delicious end-of-summer-appropriate dish, baked in the oven. Its stars include: bottled tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh parsley & basil, chicken, and pasta. Oh and breadcrumbs and more cheese. Interested? Try it out, it’s sophisticated enough for the more refined palate, and yet friendly enough for the kiddos.

Preheat your risky oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, add your pasta, and cook until al-dente. Drain and place pasta in a large mixing bowl. Pasta

While the pasta is cooking, add your olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes, then throw in your onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through.Chicken, onions, & garlic

Canned tomatoes

Mmm… freshly bottled garden tomatoes.

Add this mixture into the mixing bowl with the pasta. Also into the mixing bowl goes your canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, about 1/3 of the fresh parsley, salt, & pepper.

Herbs & mozzarellaPasta mixtureAnd give it a big stir.

Pour all of this deliciousness into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. In a separate little bowl, mix together the panko (you can use regular breadcrumbs too, but I love the crunch from the panko) with the Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle this over the top of the pasta mixture. Cut your butter into small pieces and dot the top of the dish. Bake for about 25-28 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Mixture in baking dishAfter you triumphantly pull out your glorious dish from the oven (and save your curse words for another day), scatter the rest of your fresh parsley and all of your fresh basil over the top. By not cooking the herbs, they retain their delightful flavor and freshness.Baked chicken & pastaThen just sit back and relish in the fruits of your labor, knowing that you have conquered that risky oven and indeed enjoyed the thrill of it all.

Recipe adapted slightly from Giada De Laurentiis.

Baked Pasta with Chicken, Tomato, Basil, & Mozzarella
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Baked pasta with tomatoes, chicken, basil, parsley, and mozzarella.
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 6
  • 2 cups small pasta (I used Penne)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 cup cubed chicken breast
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1 onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 quart canned tomatoes with juice (or 2 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 1-1.5 cup cubed fresh mozzarella, or shredded mozzarella
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, separated
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 T butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just tender. Drain, and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a medium pan over medium heat. Once hot, add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes. Add onions and garlic, and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through and onions are soft.
  4. Add chicken mixture to the mixing bowl with the pasta.
  5. Then add canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, ⅓ of the fresh parsley, salt, & pepper to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  6. Pour chicken mixture into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
  7. Combine together in a small bowl the panko and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Cut the butter into small pieces and dot over the top of the pasta.
  8. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  9. Once finished baking, scatter the fresh basil & remaining parsley over the top of the dish.


  1. Karen

    I plan on making this tonight but with much more chicken. I was wondering if this recipe is OK as is to throw some mushrooms in?

    • Katelyn

      Hi Karen! I think mushrooms would be delicious in this. Great idea! I might suggest sautéing them first though, because throwing raw mushrooms in there might make the dish watery, but that’s just my guess. Let me know how it turns out!

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