(Recipe can be found at the site Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice here.)
Step by Step Ingredients:
For this delicous baked pasta dish, you’ll need the following: Salt & Pepper, 3 tablespooons of Flour, 1 lb. of Chicken Breast, 4 large Garlic Cloves, Rigatoni, a Yellow Onion, 3 cups of Milk (I went with Skim Milk), drained, quartered Artichoke Hearts (you need about 12-14 ounces, you can get the marinated variety, but I just got the kind canned in water because it was all I could find), 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella, Italian Seasoning, Buttermilk (I just discovered dried Buttermilk!!), 3 tablespoons of Butter, Olive Oil, Nutmeg and more than a cup of Parmesan Cheese.
I decided to knock out the part I liked the least in my prep work…dealing with raw chicken. Ick. So I trimmed up 1 pound of chicken breast…
…then I poured about a cup of buttermilk over the top of the chicken (I put it in a pie pan) to let it marinate. I only let it marinate about an hour, but feel free to let it sit for several hours if you’d like. Then when you’re ready to use it, pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and cut it into cubes.
When I was ready to begin cooking, I started off by preheating my oven to 400 degrees. Then I diced a yellow onion and measured 1/3 cup of it for this recipe and saved the rest for another day.
Then I thinly sliced 4 cloves of garlic.
Next I grated my cheese using the small grating side of my grater. One great tip when grating cheese is to put it in the freezer for a few minutes before you grate it and it keeps it from falling apart. This is especially helpful for softer cheeses that need grating.
Once I had a pot of water boiling, I cooked it according to the package directions. Then drain it and set it aside until you’re ready for it.
In a large pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
Then add the onions to the hot oil and sauté it for about 3 minutes, stirring pretty constantly.
Then add the garlic and cook it for a minute or so stirring constantly just until you begin to smell the garlic.
Then when the garlic is done, put the onions and garlic in a bowl and set it aside.
Now in the same pan heat another tablespoon or so of oil and add the cubed chicken to it. Be sure to season it with salt and pepper. You’ll also want to add 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning that you have rubbed in your hand to release the oils in the spice. Cook the chicken for a few minutes stirring occasionally.
While the chicken is cooking, begin melting 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized saucepan to begin the white sauce.
When the chicken is cooked and has some brown on it, just remove it from the heat and get back to the sauce.
We’re making a basic roux, so when the butter is melted, add 3 tablespoons of flour to the pan and whisk it together and cook it for 1-3 minutes until the flour flavor gets cooked a bit. One thing I do is always add my salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg to the dish with the flour. This way I don’t forget to add it later.
Then gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk. I like to add about 1/3 or 1/2 of the milk and then whisk it really well so that you aren’t getting lots of lumps. It’s easier to work out the lumps with less of the milk in it, in my humble opinion.
Next up cook the sauce for 3-5 minutes and it will begin to thicken a bit.
Now add the Parmesan that was grated earlier and whisk it into the sauce. The cheese will help finish thickening the sauce too.
It’s time to put together the dish. Add the chicken, onion, and garlic to the drained pasta.
Then add about 3/4’s of the sauce to the pasta and combine the mixture.
Either butter or heavily spray a 9×13 baking dish and pour in the pasta and chicken mixture. Use your spoon to make sure it’s spread evenly and then add the artichokes to the top of the dish. I had drained the artichokes for a while, just so ya know. 😉
Then spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the pasta and artichoke hearts.
Spread 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over the top of the casserole and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes.
This is the end result, and doesn’t it look fabulous?! You can also cover your dish with aluminum foil if you want it to stop browning too. Then let it sit for about 5 minutes and serve it up! Seriously this is delicious comfort food and I am pretty sure I dreamed about it that night. I cannot wait to dig back into my leftovers. Yum!
Baked Artichoke Chicken Pasta
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Yield: 1 (9×13) pan
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
4 fat cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts (marinated in 1 cup of buttermilk)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed between fingertips
12 ounces rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
pinch of nutmeg
1 heaping cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered (I use jarred, packed in oil and drained)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1. Begin by marinating your chicken in about 1 cup of buttermilk for as much time as you can allow and then cut it into cubes.
2. In a large skillet heat a tablespoon or 2 of oil over medium heat and add the onions. Season with a dash of salt and pepper, cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.
3. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. In the same skillet heat another tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the chicken. Cook through, stirring every few minutes so all sides get browned. Remove from heat.
4. Cook pasta to al dente in plenty of salted water. Meanwhile make the sauce and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
5. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook 3 minutes, whisking often. Slowly whisk in milk, bring to a simmer for 3 minutes, whisking often. Turn heat to low, whisk in nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and the parmesan cheese. Turn off heat.
6. Generously butter a 9×13-inch casserole or baking pan. Drain pasta, add back to the pan and toss with the chicken and onion/garlic. Add about 3/4 of the sauce to the pasta and stir well. Pour into the casserole pan and spread out evenly.
7. Scatter the artichokes evenly over top then spoon the remaining sauce over them. Sprinkle with the mozzarella.
8. Bake 40 minutes until bubbly all over and golden on top. If the cheese starts to get too brown cover with aluminum foil. Allow to set 5 minutes before serving.