This pasta bake is great with chicken or Italian sausage. Everything goes in one pot and then into a baking dish. It’s so easy and ready in just over an hour.
Pasta bakes are great because you can change up the flavors, you can freeze them, you can take to a family in need, you can easily leave out certain ingredients due to dietary restrictions—there are endless possibilities!
1 HR 20 MINS
This pasta bake recipe features chicken or sausage, either of which can be cooked a day or so in advance to make it even easier. Throw in some sun-dried tomatoes, red wine, lots of cheese, and OH MY GOODNESS do you have a yummy meal! And the whole casserole can be partially made in advance and baked when you’re ready.
👋 Want the printable recipe? Just scroll down!
- For this recipe, I use a large Dutch oven or stockpot to cook the onion and garlic and mix the other ingredients. This one is perfect!
- You’ll need a pretty casserole dish for serving this pasta bake and I love this one because it’s a little deeper than most.
How to make pasta bake with chicken
Step 1. Cook onion and garlic in a large pot.
Step 2. Add sausage or chicken and cook through (unless using already cooked meat.)
Step 3. Add crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, red wine, water, tomato paste, cream.
Step 4. Stir in dried herbs and spinach.
Step 5. Stir in Provolone and Parmesan. Stir in dried pasta.
Step 6. Pour everything into greased baking dish and bake, covered, 45 minutes.
Step 7. Uncover and top with fresh mozzarella. Bake 10-15 minutes longer, until cheese is melted and browning.
This pasta bake recipe is a hearty casserole and you really don’t need anything else with it, other than a green salad and some nice crusty bread.
And, of course, you always need dessert. May I suggest:
- Peach and Blackberry Galette
- Key Lime Pie
- White Chocolate Creme Brulee with Raspberries
- Toasted Cream Cheese Pound Cake
- Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie
Tips for the best pasta bake
- You can freeze this pasta bake and keep it for several months. To do this, I would leave make it up to the point of pouring into the baking dish, except LEAVE OUT THE WATER and don’t put any cheese on top. When you’re ready to bake, take the casserole out of the freezer the night before and then stir in the water just before baking.
- To freeze, place in a baking dish or disposable aluminum pan and cover with plastic wrap, then wrap with tin foil.
- You can cook the pasta ahead to save time. If you do this then don’t add the water to the sauce and decrease the baking time.
- Toast some panko bread crumbs in a skillet with olive oil and garlic, and sprinkle on top with the mozzarella.
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This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes.
Pasta Bake with Chicken
- 1 pound penne or other short pasta
- Olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb. sausage or 4 cups chopped, cooked chicken
- 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups chopped sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup dry red wine (Pinot Noir or Cab works well)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups cream
- 1 tablespoon dried herbs (Italian herbs)
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1 ½ cups shredded Provolone, Pecorino Romano, or Asiago
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ lb. fresh mozzarella, shredded
- Preheat oven to 375. Butter a deep 9×13-inch baking dish.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and then saute onion. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add sausage or chicken and cook on medium-high heat until cooked through. (you can also cook the meat a day or two ahead and just set aside.)
- Add crushed tomatoes and sundried tomatoes.
- Stir in red wine, water, tomato paste, cream, dried herbs, and spinach.
- Stir in Provolone and Parmesan.
- Stir in dried pasta. Pour in prepared dish, COVER, and bake 45 minutes.
- Uncover and top with fresh mozzarella. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and lightly browning.
More pasta recipes you’ll love:
- Fresh tomato sauce with garlic and basil
- Mac and cheese muffins with ham
- Baked ziti with Italian sausage
- Chili mac and cheese
- Pizza pasta salad