This Creamy Chicken Broccoli Pasta Bake is an easy dump-and-bake dinner that's ready to eat in less than 90 minutes. But don't worry - you'll only be actually cooking for 10 minutes! Loaded with broccoli, chicken and cheese this is comfort food at its best - with a heathier twist.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add in the chicken pieces. Season with paprika powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and mix well to spread out the seasonings. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until the chicken has nice color. It does not have to be cooked all the way through at this stage as it will finish cooking in the oven.
Bring out a casserole dish that measures about 8x10 inches (20x25 cm). Grease with 1 tablespoon of butter.
2 tablespoon butter
Place the uncooked pasta in the greased casserole dish. Follow with the cooked chicken, including any leftover fat from frying. Then add chopped broccoli, garlic cloves, parsley and half of both the shredded neutral cheese and the shredded parmesan. Mix as well as possible.
½ lb dry penne pasta, ½ lb broccoli, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 1 cup shredded cheese
Pour over the cream and the milk, and top with the remaining cheese. Make sure all pieces of pasta are completely submerged.
1 cup shredded cheese, 2 cups heavy cream, 2 cups milk, 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Place in middle of the oven and cook for about 1 hour, until the pasta is cooked through. Check often toward the end, and cover with aluminium foil if it starts to get too much color. Then bring out, and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Chicken thigh filets have more flavor than chicken breasts, but you can use any cut of chicken without bones
Leftover chicken can also be used - you can use the same seasoning anyway unless it's already heavily seasoned
Parmesan cheese can be swapped for similar flavorful types of cheese, like Grana Padano
Shredded cheese: use a mild cheese that melts well, for example mozzarella
Fresh parsley can be swapped for frozen parsley
Butter can be swapped for olive oil or another type of oil
Penne pasta: you can use any short type of pasta, like fusilli or rigatoni
Tips & Tricks
Use leftover chicken to make it even easier
Use whatever cheese you want, but for the best result go for one flavorful and one that melts really well. For me - this means parmesan & mozzarella.
Make sure the pasta is fully submerged in the liquid so it cooks well.
Allow to rest before serving for the juices to settle - otherwise it can come out a bit runny
Prep it the day or even 2-3 days before - and when you're ready to cook, just stick it in the oven and have dinner ready in about an hour. If cooking from refrigerated, add 10-20 minutes to the cook time.
Store leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 4 days