Pasta has been a staple in our home for as long as I can remember. And why not? It’s economical, filling and can be made into so many different dishes. Whether you have hungry kids in the house or just need something hearty on a cold night, there are plenty of options. This Pesto-Baked Penne is perfect for transforming leftover chicken and pesto into something new. You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by swapping in mushrooms or roasted winter squash for the chicken.
16 ounces penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup pesto
2 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Cook penne just to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss pasta with olive oil and set aside.
2. In another bowl, stir together ricotta, pesto and cream until blended. Add reserved pasta water to thin, if desired. Pour sauce over pasta and stir well to coat. Stir in the tomatoes and chicken, then transfer to prepared dish. Sprinkle mozzarella on evenly.
3. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5–10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted, if preferred.