Alright, not the best photo. You can't really make out all the goodness that's in this pasta dish. But, clearly you can see, it is CREAMY. I set out to find recipes that I could make big batches of and freeze half for later. I found a great selection on MarthaStewart.com, and this is one of those recipes. You can find the original here: Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes
I pretty much stuck to the recipe, but added in a can of quartered artichoke hearts, and subbed mozzarella for the provolone (I just didn't have any on hand). The artichokes seemed fitting to go with all the other ingredients. The recipe reminds me of the "Pasta Milano" dish served at Romano's Macaroni Grill.
As far as freezing goes, it couldn't be easier. I bought cheap tin baking pans from the grocery, filled with half of the mixture, cooled in the fridge, covered with foil once cool, wrote the directions on the top with a sharpie, and popped in the freezer. We ate the freezer version recently, and it took a while to cook (as you bake it from frozen), but was as good as it was when I made the original batch.
If you are interested in making this and NOT freezing it, I suggest halving the recipe, as this recipe as written will make enough to feed a small army.
Recipe from MarthaStewart.com: Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
- coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups whole milk
- 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)
- Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
- In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
- Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.
- Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
- For Freezing, Prepare through step 4; let cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze, up to 3 months.
- Preheat oven to 400, and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.