It doesn’t matter the season, there’s always room for comfort food and my Chicken and Basil Baked Rigatoni is not only seasonally fresh and delicious — it’s made with leftover chicken.
I try and use most of my ingredients in the refrigerator, and after I made my Smoked Whole Dijon Chicken the other evening, I had half of it leftover for another meal. I’m a transformation person because I don’t prefer to eat the same thing twice, so this pasta recipe is the perfect place to utilize that extra poultry. A basic sauce using pantry ingredients is the first place to start with this recipe and par-cooking some rigatoni noodles. I tossed the shredded chicken into the sauce, then added the noodles and turned off the heat.
I ladled half the pasta into a casserole dish and topped it with scamorza (smoked mozzarella) and freshly torn basil leaves. The other half was quickly spooned on top and more cheese was added before hitting the oven. This pasta comes out cheesy and hot with aromatic notes from the fresh basil. It’s a great weeknight meal, when you need something relatively quickly for dinner.
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
28 ounce can whole tomatoes
3 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 pound cooked rigatoni
8 ounces scamorza or mozzarella, diced
1/2 cup basil leaves + more for top
1/3 cup shredded parmesan
olive oil for cooking
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 13 x 9 casserole dish with oil or cooking spray.
- Boil pot of water for pasta, and cook for 8 minutes, drain. In a large Dutch oven or pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and stir. Cook for 2 minutes and add garlic, stir.
- Add whole tomatoes and squeeze with fingers to crush quickly. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper and oregano, stir. Add cooked chicken, and rigatoni, stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Ladle half of pasta mixture into casserole dish. Add half of diced scamora and torn basil leaves over top. Ladle remaining pasta over top, covering any basil leaves (so they don’t burn). Top with remaining scamora and parmesan.
- Cover casserole with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and top with additional basil for serving. Enjoy!