baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArecipe from here

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into small bite-size chunks and seasoned with salt and whatever spices and herbs you have on hand (i used oregano, parsley, onion powder, and thyme)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups 2% milk
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced or dried and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cups shredded provolone (2-3 ounces)
  • 1 cup any other cheese, I used a shredded mix that included cheddar
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken; cook until opaque throughout. (or, just use cut-up leftover chicken you happen to have on hand, or omit the chicken entirely to make the recipe vegetarian)
  3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. 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 other cheeses, leaving 1/2 parmesan aside to sprinkle on later.
  4. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with Parmesan.
  5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cook’s Note

To Freeze: Prepare through step 4; let cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze, up to 3 months.

To Bake From Frozen: 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.

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