Delicious and creamy, this Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Baked Pasta won’t disappoint you.
But before we all jump into this gooey goodness (aka Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Baked Pasta), I’ve got a question. Have you ever had a situation when you got used to a specific product, and then it just disappeared from the stores? I bet you have! Or probably it happens every now and again. (But I hope it doesn’t.)
Personally, I don’t recall many of these stories. This has happened a couple of times with some beauty products. I liked some things, and I would regularly buy them until the moment they just vanished. Not a big deal (But I won’t lie – I was hoping to find it for a while. Still not a big deal.)
As about food, once an ice cream company stopped producing one flavor which I adored (It might be inappropriate to use this verb referring to ice cream, but you should know my love for ice cream). That was quite sad cause the combo was truly fabulous, and I have any solid reasons why would the company do that. Well, perhaps that flavor wasn’t popular which is not a good explanation either.
Another story has happened this year. It’s not about disappearing the particular brand – it’s about the item.
Sun-dried tomato pesto. Oh, I like this stuff. With pasta, gnocchi, crepes, or just straight from the jar (Don’t judge me). So good. My favorite thing is a toast with some plain cream cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto. Check this out, friends. I always have a jar in the fridge. Wait, should I say “I used to have”?
In January I was planning on making pasta with sun-dried tomato pesto and some proteins (I wasn’t sure yet would I choose poultry or Italian sausage). So I went to our regular grocery store to grab a jar of pesto and probably some inspiration.
And you know what? I didn’t find it (Pesto. Not the inspiration). The empty spot reserved for these jars was surrounded by classic pesto. However, since the price tags were still here, I though the store temporary run out of it. I decided to move my plans for the next weekend.
When I returned in a week, I found the same picture. I didn’t want to move my pasta anymore so I stopped at Walmart. I didn’t find it here either (On a side note, I never saw it here before so that wasn’t the same case).
Then I made a very difficult decision because I couldn’t wait for pasta any longer. No, I didn’t adjudicate on making pesto from scratch. Instead, I decided to use regular sun-dried tomatoes.
As you see, this luscious Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Baked Pasta appeared in my life.
Certainly, I don’t regret it. Although it wasn’t the original idea, this dish turned out amazing.
Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Baked Pasta
The combination of chicken, smoked gouda, smoked paprika, and sun-dried tomatoes is so hearty (And yes, I had a little of pesto from the open jar which I also incorporated. I hope that wasn’t the last jar).
Also, when I want to get a creamy, silky, and rich sauce without heavy cream, I always use cream cheese. If you haven’t tried using it in pasta…well, you’re missing a lot, my friends!
It’s definitely not the lightest pasta, but cream cheese makes the difference.
Seriously, you should try this Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Baked Pasta.
And I won’t give up on that pesto although it’s been over a month when I see the empty shelf with a price tag. But if one day you find a recipe for pasta with sun-dried tomato pesto here one day, you will know I’ve been lucky enough!
- about 350 gr dried pasta (about 6 cups of cooked)
- 2 medium skinless chicken breasts, thickly sliced (3 cups shredded)
- 1 tablespoon olive/vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 cream cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 1,5 cups smoked Gouda, grated (smoked cheddar or mozzarella are fine)
- 1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 2-3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
- Heat oven to 180 degrees C / 350-360 degrees F.
- Cook the pasta in a pot of salted water as recommended on package, 1-2 minutes less than until al dente. Rinse with cold water and drain.
- In a meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the chicken for just about 5-6 minutes, until no longer pink and almost cooked through (Check with the spatula - you can easily cut a piece with a spatula when the chicken is ready). Off heat.
- To make the sauce, in a large saucepan place the milk, cream cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, over medium heat. Let the cream cheese melt, stirring. Add the pesto, oregano, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Let it simmer for just few minutes until incorporated.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the cooked pasta, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1 cup of grated cheese. Mix to coat. If the sauce is too thick (not enough), add a little bit of milk more (up to 1/4 cup).
- Transfer the mixture to a deep baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake for 5 minutes more until the cheese is melted then cook under grill for 1-2 minutes to get a lovely crust.
- Remove from oven. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.