Easy, quick, skinny weeknight dinner chicken pasta bake recipe of your dreams !
Thank you to Ragu for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to pass on my family traditions.
I am so excited to share this chicken pasta bake recipe with you today. January is the month for comfort food and new resolutions, so I created a chicken pasta bake recipe with whole wheat penne pasta, grilled chicken and low-fat cheese, cutting calories without sacrificing any comfort and flavor. This meal is everything you guys, everything.
Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while know how much I love to make my own sauce. But with a busy schedule on a Thursday I still like to be able to get a quick meal on the table and take a short cut or two if I can. Like for this chicken pasta bake recipe I used a jar of RAGÚ® sauce. Super tasty, thick and just the perfect short cut for my weeknight recipe.
This chicken pasta bake recipe has become a tradition around our home, we make a point to sit down to dinner during the week, not just on a Sunday !
Speaking of traditions, that is exactly my favorite part about the RAGÚ® sauce. The story of Assunta Cantisano who brought the recipe for her sauce from Italy in 1973 reminds me in many ways of myself as an immigrant girl, coming to America with nothing but a pocket full of dreams. Read the full story of Assunta Cantisano here, I bet it will inspire you to chase some dreams today and bring some of her spirit into your own home!
What I love about the RAGÚ® Sauces:
• Ragu’s Commitment to High Standards– just like Assunta
• The Process – Stemming from Assunta’s family recipe, Slowly simmered to add layers of flavor
• No. No. No (no artificial flavors, no artificial flavors and no high fructose corn syrup)
It might seem complicated at first but this recipe is as easy as it gets. I grilled some chicken tenderloin for this, but you could use leftover roasted chicken If you have it. From that point on it is just a matter of boiling the pasta, tossing it with a little olive oil and coating it all in that thick sauce.
Then for a nice cheesy surprise, spoon dollops of low-fat ricotta and mozzarella cheese in the middle, so when you scoop it out you bite into pockets of creaminess, fluffy as a cloud. I mean, can dinner on a Thursday can get any better ? Me thinks not teeheehee
Make sure to use the penne pasta variety for this dish, as the tiny ridges help the sauce stick to it perfectly and load it with flavor. Now this chicken pasta bake recipe is indeed a meal worth gathering around.
- 1 oz x 24 Jar RAGÚ® Traditional Tomato Sauce
- 1 lb chicken tenderloin
- 1 lb pend pasta whole wheat
- 1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese low fat
- 1 c ricotta cheese low fat
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1.2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 15 leaves basil
In a mixing bowl combine 3 tbsp of olive oil, paprika, sea salt, garlic powder and black pepper. Add the chicken tenderloin to the mixture and toss to coat very well. Allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Heat up a cast iron griddle or grill pan over medium high flame and grill the chicken tenderloin for about 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Meanwhile bring a forage pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the penne pasta until al dente according to the instructions on the package.
Drain the pasta and toss it well with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the RAGÚ® tomato sauce.
Preheat your oven to 400”F
Slice the grilled chicken and add it to the pot with the pasta. Gently toss to combine.
Add half of the pasta to an oven proof baking dish. Spoon half of the ricotta cheese over the top and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Add the remaining pasta mixture on top and finish with the rest of the ricotta and mozzarella cheese.
Loosely cover the pasta dish with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted on top.
Remove the aluminum foil and if desired place the pasta bake under the broiler for a couple of minutes to get some nice charred cheese crust.
Serve the pasta bake with extra ricotta cheese on the side and sprinkled with the fresh basil