This recipe goes out to all of you rad parents with kiddos heading back to school this week. You asked for quick and easy recipes in our recent reader survey here. And let me tell you, this one’s a keeper. If you were a child of the 80’s like me, you can even pop it in your Trapper Keeper to hold onto for busy school nights ahead.
Delicious chicken and ziti are tossed with a lighter alfredo sauce and baked up to cheesy perfection.
CHICKEN BAKED ZITI INGREDIENTS:
12 ounces ziti (or any pasta shape)
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)
1 batch alfredo sauce (see below)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2% low fat)
*This isn’t a super-saucy dish, so if you like a lot of sauce, you might want to consider doubling this recipe. If you don’t have the time to make your own sauce, one standard-sized jar should be enough.
TO MAKE THE CHICKEN BAKED ZITI:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of well-salted boiling according to package instructions. Drain. Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and alfredo sauce. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.
Pour half of the pasta into a greased baking dish (either an oval baking dish, as pictured above, or a 9 x 13-inch baking dish will work). Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of cheese. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional toppings if desired.
TO MAKE THE ALFREDO SAUCE:
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted. Remove from heat and set aside.