You can use this recipe as a basic springboard to create a variety of tasty and filling dinners. You can change the cheeses for subtle taste changes. You can also change out the protein, making it with beef, ground turkey or even tofu. Select a chunky spaghetti sauce instead of marinara.
Likewise, you could add veggies like mushrooms, broccoli or tomatoes. Changing out the seasoning can totally change the taste of this dish. Adding crushed red pepper flakes will add some kick to the taste. You can give it a crunchy topping by adding a layer of panko breadcrumbs, dotted with butter after you add the cheese in the final step.
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite sized pieces
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp garlic powder
1 medium yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz. dried short-cut pasta (I used rigatoni)
24 oz. jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I used Newman’s Own)
Water to fill empty marinara sauce jar
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Additional dried Italian seasoning, optional
Fresh parsley and/or basil, minced for garnish
Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large pot or skillet, heating over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Cook about 5 minutes, until chicken is nearly cooked through. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the same pot and cook about 2-3 minutes, until soft. Pour in marinara sauce, then fill up the empty sauce jar with water and add it to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a strong simmer.
Add the chicken and pasta, stir to distribute evenly, then cover and cook for between10-15 minutes, until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Stir in parmesan cheese and ¼ cup of the mozzarella cheese until well-mixed.
Sprinkle the remaining ¾ cup mozzarella cheese on top of the dish and cook another 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted and gooey. Sprinkle with additional Italian seasoning and garnish with parsley or basil, if desired.
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Quick Tip: The trick to making this a really great dish is to carefully select your marinara sauce. Pick one that is thick and shows evidence of herbs and spices floating in the sauce.
Recipe and image courtesy of Amanda at The Chunky Chef