You don’t even have to boil the pasta for this quick and healthy Dump-and-Bake Chicken Caprese Pasta! With only 5 minutes of prep, the easy, family-friendly recipe is a fresh and fast way to get dinner on the table!
You get home at the end of the day and the last thing that you feel like dealing with is a complicated supper. You’re tired, your family needs your attention, and there are piles of laundry threatening to take over your house. Heck, you don’t even know what to make for dinner!
It’s evenings like this when I turn to simple, fresh meals that I can feel good about feeding my family — but that don’t require much effort on my part! Classic Italian ingredients like garlic, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and pasta come together in a one-dish casserole that you only have to stir together. There’s no need to even boil the pasta!
As the penne cooks in the oven it absorbs most of the broth and releases starches that thicken the sauce. Combined with the melted cheese, the end result is a light-yet-creamy sauce that coats the roasted chicken, vegetables, herbs and pasta. In other words, this Dump-and-Bake Chicken Caprese Pasta is a simple (and delicious) solution for those busy evenings when you just don’t have the time, energy, or desire to worry about dinner!
Dump-and-Bake Chicken Caprese Pasta
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 3/4 cups halved grape tomatoes (can substitute with a can of undrained diced tomatoes)
12 ounces (about 3 cups uncooked) uncooked penne pasta
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In the prepared dish (or in a separate bowl), stir together cooked chicken, tomatoes, uncooked pasta, chicken broth, 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese, about half of the basil leaves, minced garlic, and salt.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover; stir. At this point you should check the pasta to make sure that it is al dente (firm but just about finished cooking). If it’s still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is al dente. Then move on to the next step.
Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of mozzarella over the top. Bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes (or until cheese is melted and pasta is tender).
Garnish with remaining basil leaves just before serving.
Cooking for Just Two?The recipe ingredients can easily be cut in half (or in quarters) and baked in smaller dishes. If you cut the recipe in half, use an 8-inch square baking dish. If you want to prepare just 2 servings, cut the ingredients into fourths and bake in small individual dishes. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.
Want to Prep Ahead? I like to use leftover chicken or store-bought rotisserie chicken for this meal. To prepare the ingredients in advance, you can dice the chicken and tomatoes the day before. Keep them in the refrigerator so that you only have to stir the ingredients together before baking!