Spinach Artichoke Baked Penne with Chicken

Spinach Artichoke Baked Penne with Chicken

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A couple of months ago I moved out of South Florida and we ended up in the same town as my mom and sister. We actually found a place just a few houses down from my sister, which has been lots of fun. Really.

 It had been ages since we all lived in the same town, so it’s nice to be near family again, and naturally we love to have dinner together. We usually eat and then watch Family Feud, which leads to laughter (and maybe some wacky answers shouted out) every time. Some of those people are just kooky.  We also joke about trying out for the show, and may or may not jockey to see who will be captain on our make-believe TV team. I don’t know why there’s even a discussion, obviously I should be captain. Duh. 

So, one day a couple of weeks ago, I’d invited Mom to dinner but had no idea what I wanted to make.  She said she wanted pasta, something with artichokes. As soon as she said it, immediately, I started craving spinach artichoke dip, and then it hit me. I needed to make a Spinach Artichoke Baked Penne with Chicken. Maybe it was because I was about to go shopping while hungry (never a good idea), maybe it is because I love spinach-artichoke dip (always a good idea), maybe both… but my mouth watered just thinking about it.

It’s a big time crowd-pleaser and would be perfect for a pot-luck, a new mom meal delivery or Sunday Night Dinner with friends. It’s creamy, it’s savory, it’s super-duper comfort with a twist. Serve it up with a salad and some crispy, crunchy garlic bread and hurry back for seconds. It won’t last long.

{Although I call for chicken in the recipe, this would be great as a vegetarian dish without it.} 

 

Spinach and Artichoke Baked Penne with Chicken
Serves 6
A dinner twist on the classic appetizer dip.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 lbs Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1 Tablespoon Dry White Wine
  3. 10 oz. Baby Spinach
  4. 2- 14oz. Cans Artichoke Hearts
  5. 1 lb Penne Pasta
  6. 1/4 Cup 1/2 &1/2
  7. 6 oz. Whipped Cream Cheese
  8. 1/3 Cup Sour Cream
  9. 3/4 Cup Shredded Cabot White Oak Cheddar
  10. 3/4 Cup Freshly Shaved Parmesan
  11. 1 Tablespoon Chicken Broth
  12. Butter
  13. Olive Oil
  14. Garlic Salt
  15. Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large pot, salt and boil water. Cook pasta until slightly more done than al dente.
  3. While pasta is cooking, cube the chicken breasts into 1/2" pieces, salt and pepper. Then and sauté in olive oil. When cooked through, splash tablespoon of white wine, cook off then set aside.
  4. Drain the artichokes, then cut the leaves off the hearts and roughly chop the meaty portion. Set aside.
  5. Sauté the spinach in olive oil, drain liquid and finely chop. Set Aside.
  6. When the pasta is done, drain the water and return to the pot. Reduce heat to low. Add butter and stir until melted and evenly distributed, then add 1/2 & 1/2 and tablespoon of chicken broth. Add in the sour cream and whipped cream cheese. Stir gently, but well. Add in the chopped spinach, artichokes and chicken. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Add freshly ground pepper and garlic salt to taste. I use a few good shakes.
  7. Move the pasta mixture into a greased 9x13 baking dish.
  8. Top the pasta with the Cabot cheddar and the remaining parmesan.
  9. Bake 20 minutes, then turn broiler to low to brown the top.
Notes
  1. You can add a bit more sour cream and/or cream cheese if you want it even creamier. Give it a taste after get all the ingredients mixed in.
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After you sauté the spinach, make sure you drain it well to remove as much moisture as possible.   

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Although you can use the entire artichoke heart, I prefer just the meaty part. I cut off the thin leafy parts and set aside. I believe it works better in the pasta bake this way.  

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 I am obsessed with the flavors in the Cabot Farmer’s Legacy Collection. The White Oak Cheddar, Alpine Cheddar and Farmhouse Reserve are AWESOME. Any of them would work well in this recipe but I think the White Oak was a big winner.

Now I want some cheese. (But, let’s be real, when don’t I want cheese?) Oh, the Alpine Cheddar. So good. 

{**Not sponsored by Cabot** Just like to share about the products I love to use.} 

Whenever possible, shred your cheese (for any recipe) right before you use it. Freshly shaved is so much better than the pre-shredded you find the grocery store. The fresh will melt better, more evenly and it’s not coated in gunk to keep it from sticking. 

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 Since you’ve got a one dish meal here, I went simple with a small side Caesar salad to accompany the flavors. With a nice glass of Pinot Gris of course. What would you serve with the Spinach Artichoke Baked Penne with Chicken?

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Any other dips or appetizers you’d turn into a meal?

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