Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti

One of my favorite albums to listen (and sing) to while on walks is Hamilton.  In One Last Time, George Washington references Micah 4:4 and says “Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree. And no one shall make them afraid.”  It just strikes me as poignant, meaningful, hopeful and needed these days.  In the very next song, the transition of leadership of President of the US is addressed by  King George, "they will tear each other into pieces."  Certainly humanity and decency will prevail. 

Speaking of Hamilton, Aaron Burr (aka, Leslie Odom, Jr.) is the guest speaker at Austin Street Center’s virtual luncheon this Friday, September 25.  Join me online and support a great cause! 

Since we will be luncheoning together like ladies of leisure, plan on serving this dish for dinner.  It is fast and easy; simple and comforting.  My friend, Debbie K., recommended Gimme Some Oven and I found this gem.


For the Alfredo Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Chicken Baked Ziti:

  • 12 ounces uncooked ziti (or any pasta shape)
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)
  • 1 batch alfredo sauce (see above)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings and mix-ins, optional: freshly-grated Parmesan cheese; sauteed mushrooms; blanched asparagus.

For the Alfredo Sauce:

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.

Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Chicken Baked Ziti:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of well-salted boiling according to package instructions. Drain. Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and alfredo sauce. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.

Pour half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of mozzarella. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional toppings if desired.

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