Crazy Good Cheesy Chicken Pasta
Two truths about me: I love pasta, and I really don't like bland food.
I started making this dish in high school, as I was first learning my way around the kitchen. Several years later, it's still my go-to pasta recipe. It's always a huge success at parties and potlucks, and many people ask for the recipe. For everyone I told I would eventually post it on the blog - here it is! Sorry if it's a few years late.
Growing up in a Pakistani-American household, bold flavors and spices are a norm. If you're looking for a light and bland pasta, this isn't it! This pasta is crazy flavorful, cheesy, and even a bit spicy. Bite-sized pieces of chicken are sauteed with garlic, onions, and bell peppers, seasoned with lots of aromatic spices, and then mixed with your favorite marinara sauce. Once you add in your cooked pasta to the sauce mix, pour all of that yummy goodness into an oven-safe dish and top it off with a creamy cheese sauce made of milk, butter, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle on some shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese right before popping it into the oven, and you're good to go. You guys, it's so good.
I usually serve this with homemade cheddar bay biscuits and a salad, and the combination is divine. Prepare to be in a food coma afterwards.
Here's the recipe, you can scroll down to see the steps in pictures below!
Crazy Good Cheesy Chicken Pasta
If you're looking for a light and bland pasta, this isn't it! This pasta is crazy flavorful, cheesy, and even a bit spicy. It takes some time to make, but is so worth it!
Yield: 6-8 servings, 1 very full 9x13" baking dish
- 1 (1 lb) box of Rotini pasta
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 - 1.5 lbs boneless chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste or minced garlic
- 1 large onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon red pepper or paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- 3/4 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 (26 oz) jar of marinara/pasta sauce
- 2 cups (or less) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
[For Cheese Sauce]
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 cups cold milk
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a large pot, heat oil. Add chicken and then garlic. Stir occasionally. Separately, boil pasta according to package instructions.
- When chicken is no longer pink & water has evaporated (after ~5-10 minutes), add in your diced onions & bell peppers.
- Add all spices: salt, red pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder, black pepper, & turmeric powder.
- Stir & allow to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add in your favorite jar of pasta sauce and mix.
- Allow chicken-sauce mixture to simmer on low heat for about 5-10 minutes.
- Add drained pasta to chicken-sauce mixture & gently mix completely. Taste the pasta and season with salt if needed. The flavor will become less strong with the addition of the cheeses.
- Transfer everything from your pot to a large oven-safe baking dish. I usually use a big 9"x13" baking pan.
- Make cheese sauce (can be done earlier): Stir 2 cups of milk gradually into 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a small saucepan until smooth. Turn stove on and add in 4 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, and stir in 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese until smooth. Remove from heat; cheese sauce should be slightly thick, not runny.
- Pour cheese sauce evenly on top of the pasta (in the baking pan). Do not mix!
- Next, sprinkle 1-2 cups of cheddar cheese all over cheese sauce, evenly.
- Lastly, sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese all over the cheddar cheese, evenly. Do not mix.
- Bake uncovered in a preheated 375 degree oven until nice & golden brown. This usually takes me between 30-45 minutes, but your oven might be different, so keep an eye on it!
- Cool for about 10 minutes & serve with salad and garlic bread or cheddar bay biscuits. Enjoy! If you try it and like it, I'd love to know :)
Recipes @ ModernMuslimHome.com