Cheesy Chicken Alfredo Baked Pasta
I love cheese. I love string cheese, cubed cheese, melted cheese—all kinds of cheese.
I usually try to eat fairly healthy during the week days, but one day I had to give in to my cheese craving. I wanted something ooey-gooey for dinner. I knew that I had plenty of shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses in my fridge, so I started there.
The first thing that came to mind was pasta with a creamy alfredo sauce. While I had a decadent dinner in mind, I didn't feel like going to the grocery store after work, so I definitely wanted to work with what I had at home.
I found a recipe from Tasty by Buzz Feed. You've probably seen their videos on your Facebook timeline. Their recipe uses penne pasta and cubed chicken. I worked with what I had in my cupboard to make recreate this cheesy masterpiece. Click here for the original recipe.
That morning, I brought out my crockpot to make shredded chicken. I knew I wanted to use this chicken in my lunch, but I figured I'd find more uses for it throughout the week.
When I got home from work, I shredded the chicken in the crockpot and turned it back on low so it could absorb more of the flavorful juices.
Next, I started boiling the water for the pasta. I raided my cupboard to asses my pasta options. While I did have penne, I didn't even have a half a cup in the box. I opted for the most full box which was the farfalle, or bow-tie pasta.
While the pasta cooked, I prepared a quick alfredo sauce. Back in my college days, my lazy dinner was always pasta with a bottled alfredo sauce. If I had realized how easy it was to make alfredo, I could have saved myself some money.
In a sauce pan, combine heavy cream, parmesan cheese, minced garlic and butter. Make sure to add the ingredients slowly over a low-medium heat.
Once the sauce was mixed, I turned the heat off and drained my pasta. I added the pasta to a large pan with the sauce and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. I used that time to add the shredded chicken. After that, I followed the rest of the recipe and layered the pasta with cheese.
Since all the components to this dish are already warm, and mozzarella cheese doesn't take long to melt, all you need to do is get a nice browning on the top layer of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
The Tasty recipe calls for a low broil. My parents' oven has the perfect center flame for this. My oven does not. I baked the pasta off in the oven at 350 for 15 min. If I hadn't been so hungry, I would've left it in the oven for an additional five minutes to really give that top cheese a good tan.
Despite my impatience, this baked pasta dish was exactly what I wanted. I had a cheese overload that I gladly welcomed. Next time, I'll try adding some broccoli to this dish.