What’s better than a one pot meal? Especially when it’s Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake. Tubular noodles stuffed and surrounded by a creamy garlic Italian cheese sauce, juicy chicken and loads of spinach. What could possibly go wrong?
How to make chicken parmesan pasta bake
Sometimes, you just need a piping hot pot of pasta made with a fabulous cheesy cream sauce, am I right? The first step of this recipe is to saute chicken breast in olive oil until the chicken is opaque and has a little brown sear on the edges, then you add loads of fresh spinach and let it cook until it looks like you hardly put any spinach in (trust me on this one – 4 cups cooks right down). Then, you’ll stir in several, and I mean several, cloves of garlic until it smells heavenly in your kitchen.
The next step is to make the roux. A roux is simply a thickening agent made by whisking flour into fat. In this case it’s olive oil. Once it’s incorporated, slowly whisk in the stock and let it thicken, then slowly whisk in the evaporated milk. I use evaporated milk in several comfort food dishes because it sort of takes the place of cream. It’s thicker than milk, but doesn’t have near as much fat as cream, so it makes for a creamy but lightened up sauce that leaves you feeling comforted but not… heavy. Once it’s cooked for 5 or 6 minutes, remove it from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Be sure to season it throughout this process! If you want to give it some brightness, add a splash of lemon juice. It never hurts.
Should you eat it stove-top style or bake it?
Next, you’ll stir the cooked pasta in. I like to use a tubular variety in this particular recipe, but like in say about most pasta dishes – choose your fave and go with it! Tubular is particularly nice when acting as the vehicle for cheese sauce because the sauce gets caught inside the pastas, so each bite is extraordinary. (One of the many reasons I love this chicken parmesan pasta bake).
This next step is optional. If you want to make it into a “bake”, go ahead and add the rest of the cheese to the top of the pasta and throw it in the oven. If you just want a heaping bowl of stove-top Italian-style mac and cheese, simply stir in the rest of the cheeses and have at it. It is really delicious either way. The baked version gets that nice golden cheesy crust, but the stove-top version is ooey gooey and creamy. The choice is yours.Print
Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake
Creamy garlic chicken pasta with Italian cheeses.
- Prep Time: 10-15 mins
- Cook Time: 20-25 mins
- Total Time: 30-40 mins
- Yield: Serves 8 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baking, Stove-Top
- Cuisine: American
- 1-pound whole grain tubular pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-pound chicken breast, cubed
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach or chopped kale
- 4–5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
- 12-ounces evaporated milk
- 2 cups shredded Italian cheeses (mozzarella, provolone), divided
- ½ cup freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese, divided
- ¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot. Add cubed chicken and season with the Italian seasoing (if using), ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is opaque. Add spinach/kale and saute 2-3 minutes, until mostly wilted. Add garlic and saute 30-60 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the flour.
- Pour in the stock and evaporated milk and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes or until thickened. Season with the remaining salt and pepper. Add the 1 ½ cups of the shredded Italian cheese and ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese until melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Fold in the cooked pasta until combined.
- Sprinkle the remaining shredded Italian cheeses and Parmesan cheese on the top of the pasta. Bake 10-15 minutes or until melted and bubbly. Optional: Broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Let slightly cool, then serve topped with chopped parsley.
Cooking Tip: If you’d like to skip the baking step, simply add all cheeses to the pot and serve as a stove-top pasta dish.
- Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
- Calories: 470
- Sugar: 4g
- Sodium: 499mg
- Fat: 18g
- Saturated Fat: 6g
- Unsaturated Fat: 12g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 47g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 34g
- Cholesterol: 67mg
Keywords: pasta, pasta bake, chicken parmesan, macaroni and cheese, easy, comfort food