Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne
- 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate (I used a 14.5 oz box of Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each), halved horizontally (I used some leftover cooked chicken)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 6 cups whole milk
- 10 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (I used 8 oz of button mushrooms)
- 1 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces) (I used an italian blend that had provolone in it)
- 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 6 ounces)
Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. If you’re going to freeze one, use a disposable foil pan. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta and set aside.
While pasta is boiling, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. While chicken pan is still hot, toss the mushrooms in and saute until golden brown (3-4 minutes). Use a little extra olive oil if needed.(Since I used left over chicken, I just cooked the mushrooms in the olive oil)
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot , melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking constantly, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer. Keep whisking frequently as sauce thickens, about 1 minute more. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes. If freezing, place remaining parmesan cheese in a zip-top baggie. If cooking, sprinkle on top.
Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.