Chicken and Artichoke Pasta Bake
One of my favorite "secret recipes" to whip up for parties is my Artichoke and Jalapeno Dip. Bubbly, warm, and cheesy, it's always a hit. I was planning on making it for a Friday night roommate gathering of movies and Wii, but plans came up we had to delay. I had all the ingredients for my dip in the fridge and wanted to find a way to repurpose them for an easy one-dish Saturday night meal. A couple of chicken breasts and some extra cheese helped make this tasty bake possible.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2" chunks
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 handful parsley, chopped
- 8 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 c. flour
- 2 c. whole milk
- 2 c. grated goat Gouda cheese (found in at good ol' Trader Joe's)
- 1 c. dried bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. penne pasta
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter a 13x9" baking dish and set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet oven medium heat. Add chicken chunks and season with salt and lemon pepper. Saute until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile begin to boil water and cook penne pasta to al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
Cook diced bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium until cooked through, and just starting to crisp up. Remove from Dutch oven with a slotted spoon allowing bacon to drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Add diced onion to bacon fat and cook oven medium heat until it begins to turn translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter to Dutch oven and allow to melt before adding flour. Whisk butter and flour constantly over medium heat for 1 minute until a thick paste forms. Slowly add milk to mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. When sauce is warmed through and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, lower head and add cream cheese and Gouda and allow to melt into mixture. Remove from heat and add cooked pasta, chicken, bacon artichoke hearts, spinach, and parsley. Stir ingredients thoroughly to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and Sriracha sauce to taste. Add reserved pasta cooking water to mixture if the cheese sauce is too thick. Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with an even layer of dried bread crumbs.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes until it is hot through and the top begins to brown. Eat up!