I had a lot of veggies that I needed to use up as well as a lot of chicken breasts in my freezer. I wasn’t having much inspiration, though, so I started looking through some magazines and cookbooks to see what I could find. One of the recipes I found was for chicken cacciatore, which I thought sounded good, but I didn’t quite have the right combination of ingredients on hand and I really just wanted to use ingredients I already had on hand. But….that was enough to give me the inspiration that I needed.
What I came up with was a pasta bake and it is a pasta bake that will either feed a crowd or you can divide it into two smaller baking dishes and have one now and freeze the other one for later. I opted for the two smaller pans, which is great because I now have a meal all ready to go on a busy night!
I decided to roast the veggies because I thought that would add a really nice depth of flavor to the dish, which it absolutely did. I used carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, orange bell pepper and red onion because that’s what I had on hand. You could use whatever combination of vegetables that you like. I also used some red wine to add another layer of flavor. It was very easy to make and was very delicious.
Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake
- 4 cups assorted vegetables (I used carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, orange bell pepper and red onion)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 box whole wheat penne pasta, cooked for 7 minutes (you still want it to have a bite)
- 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
- 1 cup red wine (I used pinot noir)
- 4 cups marinara sauce (click here for my recipe or use your favorite jarred sauce)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used reduced fat)
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop vegetables into bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until softened and starting to caramelize.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
While veggies are roasting, cut up chicken into 1 inch chunks and season with salt and pepper. Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until starting to brown (you don’t want to cook the chicken through at this point). Pour wine over chicken, bring to a boil and reduce for about 2 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, roasted veggies and chicken mixture. Transfer mixture to either one large 9×13 baking dish, coated with cooking spray or two smaller baking dishes. Sprinkle cheeses over the top.
If baking right away, cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and pasta is heated through. If you froze one of the pans, defrost before baking and you may have to add an additional 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
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