Sun-dried Tomato & Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake

Phew! That’s a long name. Let’s just refer to it as pasta bake from now on…except for the label on this photo…haha!

I shared the recipe for the fruit salad here, with a promise for the recipe for the pasta. Well, it’s finally here! And let me tell you, this stuff is DELISH! And it works as a freezer meal too! Which I will share freezer instructions as well 🙂

I didn’t really take many process pics…so we’ll just cut to the chase and get to the recipe!

What you need (for 2 pans):

6 Tbsp of butter

1 lb penne (I used a whole wheat variety)..would also be good with bowties, or any tube pasta

1 tsp olive oil

4-5 links Chicken sausage (you can use 2 chicken breasts instead, but the sausage adds so much more flavor!)

1/2 C all-purpose flour

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups whole milk (I used 2% because that’s what we drink and it turned out perfectly fine…skim MIGHT be too watery though..)

1/2 C oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced (or buy the pre-sliced ones like I did ;))

1 1/2 C shredded provolone

1 C grated parmesean

16 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (if baking same day). Grease 2 shallow 2-qt baking dishes (I used those disposable aluminum ones you can get at the grocery store because I didn’t want my casserole pans tied up in the freezer)

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente***THIS IS KEY! it prevents the pasta from being over-coked after the freezing and baking**; drain pasta, return to pot.

3. On a non-stick frying pan, fully cook the sausage. Slice into about 1/4″ thick slices.

4. In a 5-qt dutch over or heavy pot, melt the butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone cheese and 1/2 C parm.

5. Add chicken and pasta to pot, season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture between the 2 baking dishes.

6. If cooking for tonight’s dinner, bake uncovered until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

7. If making ahead, let cool after step 5 and cover tightly with foil. Freeze up to 3 months. On cooking day, preheat over to 400 F, and bake (still covered in foil) about 1.5 hours. Remove foil and evaluate, you may need to cook 15 more minutes, uncovered.

I always write the day-of cooking directions right on the freezer container 1) so I don’t have to re-look it up and 2) so my hubby will know what to do should I ask him to get it started. (sorry for the bad lighting=weird coloring on these pictures)

I hope you enjoy it as much as Calder and I did!!

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