Chicken Caprese pasta bake is loaded with tomatoes, spinach, basil, and other savory ingredients. Perfectly cheesy and drizzled with a balsamic glaze.
Boy-oh-boy have I been putting off posting this chicken Caprese pasta bake recipe! Not because it's not absolutely delicious, but probably because it's one of my more intricate recipes to-date. There are quite a few ingredients, and more steps than I normally post.
Typically, we like things to be quick and easy over here when it comes to mealtime. Sometimes though, it's cool to dig a lil' deeper and make a hearty, comforting meal. Pasta is that comfort for this household! I don't know about you, but Caprese salad is one of my all-time favorite Italian dishes. There's something so special about the pairing of mozzarella, tomatoes, and balsamic drizzle.
It was only natural that we marry the flavors of Caprese salad with chicken and pasta to create this legendary dish! Scrolling through Pinterest one day, I ran across this Caprese chicken pasta that Cooking Classy made. It looked amazing, so I Dazzled it up a bit to make it my own!
Do not be intimidated by balsamic vinegar, it really adds the most delicious flavor to the pasta. We reduce the balsamic by adding a touch of sugar and simmering it low and slow. Once the pasta is done baking away in the oven, drizzle that brown goodness over the top of the pasta. Make a great big salad, and some toasty garlic bread to go along with is.
LET'S JUMP RIGHT INTO HOW THIS CHICKEN CAPRESE PASTA BAKE IS MADE:
Boil a large pot of water, and add a dash of salt. Add the penne pasta to the boiling water. Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet (or any skillet that can be transferred to the oven). Season the chicken well. Sear the chicken in the olive oil until golden brown. While chicken is simmering, chop tomatoes.
Add a dash of balsamic vinegar to the chicken when it is almost done cooking. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Add a touch of olive oil and butter to the skillet. Slowly whisk in the flour until it soaks up all of the oil. Mix in half-and-half until four is blended in. Pour in chicken stock as needed
Once the flour is blended in, begin stirring in the cheeses. Leave some cheese out to sprinkle on top of the pasta before placing in the oven. Now add the pasta, chicken, tomatoes, spinach, and chopped basil into the cheese sauce. Stir until it is all incorporated.
In a saucepan add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and simmer until t reduces, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the pasta, add a bit more basil to the top. Place the dish into the oven for about 10 minutes so the cheese can melt and get nice and toasty. Remove the pasta from the oven and drizzle balsamic glaze over the top.
- 1 pack Chicken breast or tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil, to fry chicken
- ½ cup Fresh basil, chopped
- 1 bag Frozen spinach, fresh spinach will work also
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 2 cups Half and half
- 1 box Penne pasta, cooked al dente
- 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sugar, for balsamic glaze
Seasoning (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons Seasoning salt
- 1 tablespoon Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- ¼ cup Flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with the seasonings, ensuring all pieces are coated evenly.
- Add chicken pieces to the pan, drizzle one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over the chicken and cook thoroughly
- Once chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Using the same pan, add the butter and let it melt. Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk it around until the butter and oil are absorbed.
- Slowly add the half and half and whisk it around until the flour is incorporated and the sauce is thickened.
- Add 1 ½ cups of each the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and stir into cream sauce.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, spinach, and ¼ cup chopped basil to the cheese sauce. Mix in the chicken and the pasta, and stir until combined.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Using a small saucepan, add balsamic vinegar and sugar. Cook for 5 minutes until vinegar reduces down and turns into a glaze.
- Remove pasta from the oven, drizzle balsamic glaze over the dish. Top with remaining basil.
PLEASE REPIN THIS RECIPE TO SAVE AND SHARE WITH FRIENDS: