Baked Creamy Chicken Mozzarella Pasta

Introduction

Baked Creamy Chicken Mozzarella Pasta is a comforting and delectable dish that brings together the rich flavors of creamy sauce, tender chicken, and melted mozzarella cheese. This recipe is perfect for a cozy family dinner, a potluck, or any occasion where you want to impress your guests with minimal effort. The harmonious blend of herbs, garlic, and cheese enveloping the pasta and chicken creates an irresistible dish that is both hearty and satisfying. Let’s dive into the detailed process of creating this delightful meal.

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

For the Pasta:

  • 12 ounces pasta (penne, rigatoni, or fusilli work well)
  • Salt for boiling water

For the Creamy Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Assembly:

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Season the Chicken:
    Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil on both sides. The herbs will infuse the chicken with a wonderful aroma and flavor.
  2. Cook the Chicken:
    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and let it rest. Once cooled, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
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Prepare the Pasta:

  1. Cook the Pasta:
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside. It’s important not to overcook the pasta as it will continue to cook in the oven later.

Prepare the Creamy Sauce:

  1. Make the Roux:
    In a medium saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the all-purpose flour and whisk continuously for about 2 minutes to form a roux. The roux should be smooth and slightly bubbly but not browned.
  2. Add Milk and Cream:
    Gradually whisk in the whole milk and heavy cream, ensuring there are no lumps. Continue to cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens, about 5-7 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Season the Sauce:
    Add the grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to the sauce. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Assemble the Dish:

  1. Combine Pasta and Sauce:
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, bite-sized chicken pieces, and the creamy sauce. Mix until the pasta and chicken are evenly coated with the sauce.
  2. Prepare for Baking:
    Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Pour the pasta and chicken mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  3. Add the Cheese:
    Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the pasta mixture. The cheese will melt and form a deliciously gooey topping as it bakes.
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Bake the Dish:

  1. Bake the Pasta:
    Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden brown. If you prefer a more golden and crispy top, you can broil the dish for an additional 2-3 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to prevent burning.

Serve and Garnish:

  1. Garnish the Dish:
    Once the pasta is baked to perfection, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley for a pop of color and added freshness.
  2. Serve:
    Serve the Baked Creamy Chicken Mozzarella Pasta hot, with a side of garlic bread or a fresh green salad for a complete meal. Enjoy the rich, creamy, and cheesy goodness in every bite.

Conclusion

Baked Creamy Chicken Mozzarella Pasta is a dish that brings comfort and joy with every spoonful. The tender chicken, perfectly cooked pasta, and luscious creamy sauce make this a standout recipe that is sure to become a family favorite. The ease of preparation and the delicious results make it an ideal choice for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. Whether you’re a novice cook or an experienced chef, this recipe is straightforward and rewarding, promising a delightful dining experience. Indulge in the creamy, cheesy, and flavorful delight of this pasta dish and savor the satisfaction it brings.

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