Baked pasta can be a welcome change of pace from the usual pasta prep. This recipe still asks for cheese, but also mixes in roasted chicken and tomatoes for a dish that’s easy to make and great any time of the year. For the more adventurous palates, try substituting the chicken with leftover meatballs or sauteed shrimp. Serves 4-6.

1 pound of penne pasta
1 pound of chicken, breast
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 – 16oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of fresh basil
8 ounces of fresh mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, coat chicken breast with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake chicken for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water for 3 minutes less than package instructions.

3. In a large saute pan, saute garlic on medium-low in olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Add in crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes.

4. When chicken is cooked through, cut it into 1 inch chunks and add it to the sauce. Add pasta and fresh basil. Toss and coat.

5. Divide into individual oven-safe bowls and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Recipe courtesy of Jenny Steffens Hobick of Everyday Occasions

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