Raise your hand if you love casseroles! I’m such a fan. To me they are total comfort food and a symbol of home cooking. This chicken and spinach pasta bake is a creamy and cheesy pasta casserole made with chicken, fresh spinach, and cherry tomatoes.
When I created this recipe it was one of those nights where I turned to the fridge and the pantry to help me decide what was going to be for dinner – we had chicken breasts – but we had grilled a lot this summer so I wanted to switch it up a little. In addition to the chicken, I had some fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes that I had no plans for and of course, we always have cheese (my husbands blood is in large part lactose).
Casseroles never seem to go out of style. I’ll be the first to admit that I love them, I make them, and I’m not going to stop. We may call them bakes or other nicer sounding names, but it is all the same. At my house, casseroles are usually made with pasta because that’s all one of my children would eat for the longest time.
my summer chicken and spinach pasta bake
- five hundred grams of wholewheat fusilli pasta
- five hundred grams of chicken breasts, cut in strips
- two cups of fresh or frozen spinach
- one cup of cherry tomatoes, whole
- two hundred and fifty grams of ricotta cheese
- three cups of mozarella cheese, shredded
- one cup of fresh cream
- one cup of tomato puree
- one teaspoon of chilli powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- one tablespoon of olive oil, for frying
Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add the fusilli pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain once done and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan and fry the chicken for 5 mins until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic and cook further for another minute. Once the chicken is lightly golden add the spinach, cherry tomatoes, ricotta, and tomato puree and combine evenly.
Combine one cup of shredded mozarella cheese together with the chicken and spinach sauce until the cheese melts.
Mix the cooked fusilli pasta and the chicken and spinach sauce together and dish it into a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the pasta mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven for fifteen to twenty minutes until heated through and beginning to brown along the edges.
Additionally, you could top the pasta dish with grated cheddar cheese for an added layer (also, who doesn't want extra cheese?)