Chicken Florentine Pasta Bake – This hearty meal takes your favorite comfort food to the next level and is done in 30 minutes.
We have been having the weirdest Spring here in Western Washington. Sunshine and 70’s one day, rain and 50’s the next. It is like weather by Sybil. So strange!
I guess we are paying for the past few years of gorgeous ongoing warm Spring/Summer days. Last year this time we were in the 80’s for what seemed like forever.
When the weather doles out this gloomy mess, and the whole family is feeling the rainy day blues, I like to pop into the kitchen to whip up some good ol’ comfort food. Usually, that includes pasta and cheese.
I mean who doesn’t love a nice bowl of mac and cheese? It is a childhood fave for so many of us.
But this time I wanted to make it a nice hearty meal. You know that the Complainer, aka my wonderful boyfriend, feels that it is not a meal unless it has meat. Now he would love that meat to always be beef, but with me driving the bus that gets changed up to chicken and fish quite often.
This time I perused the fridge and pantry to see what else I could add to this tummy hugging dish and two of my favorites were right there to be used. Spinach and sundried tomatoes.
I still have a partial jar of my homemade sundried tomatoes, that are oh so good. I have been known to just nibble a few from the jar. And I almost always have fresh baby spinach in my fridge to pop into my smoothies. Those two ingredients play so nicely together, and who am I to break up playmates?
I was uber excited when I started making this dish. I knew it would be a hit with the Mr and I, but Miss Picky Pants? She is a wild card, I never know what to expect from her.
Case in point?
I was making fajitas last night. They were of course full of red and orange bell peppers, and loads of sliced onion.
“Is there something else I can eat? Or can you make some without peppers and onions?”
“Ummmm that would just be chicken.”
“Just let me make this. I will slow cook the peppers and onions to get them nice and caramelized. They will be really good. I promise!”
*sigh* “OK, I will try, but don’t be mad at me when I don’t like them”
Fast forward 30 minutes later, after cooking the peppers and onions slow and low.
“Here, try this”
She tastes it, then gives me that damn you were right look.
Haha told ya so!
10 minutes later we were both loading up our tortillas with those delicious fajitas, peppers, onions, and all!
That was the way it went with this pasta bake. I got the look, she tried it, and dished herself up a huge bowl.
Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well. Toss the spinach with the hot pasta and cover the pot.
In a large pasta pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until no pink remains. Add the cooked chicken to the pasta and spinach, cover.
In a medium sauce pot heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes. add the white vermouth and milk. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens, about 5 or 6 minutes. Stir in the basil, oregano, red chili flakes, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, then the sun dried tomatoes.
Add the pasta mixture to the dutch oven. Stir to combine.
Pour into casserole dish. Place into oven and bake until the top is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add Panko and cook, stirring, until browned and toasted, about 3 minutes, stir in the parsley.
Welcome! It is so nice to meet you. My name is Bobbi. I am the Mom of 2 great kids, and Nana to a beautiful baby girl Kylee, and a handsome little devil named Torin. I share my life and home with my awesome partner Kevin, and 2 furbabies….