Easy Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta, an Italian family friendly meal that is also a great holiday make ahead dish!
This post is sponsored by Barilla. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands I love so I can keep bringing you more fabulous recipes! (For your shopping convenience, this post contains affiliate links.)
The holiday season is upon us! Are you ready? Please say no, because I’m not! This Easy Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta is perfect for the holiday season whether it’s just for an easy family meal, a holiday potluck party, or a main dish for a holiday meal. Serve this easy baked pasta with your favorite veggie, salad, and Italian Beer Bread and you’ve got yourself an easy and delicious meal!
I’m thrilled to be working with Barilla on this recipe. LOVE their products! The stars of this baked pasta dish is Barilla Penne and Tomato & Basil sauce. I love having both in my cupboard on a regular basis just for a quick meal. Now with the holidays here, I thought I’d kick it up a notch and came up with this Easy Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta recipe.
Homemade Chicken Parmesan can take a LONG time to make and it’s hard to make ahead of time so I thought I’d combine all my favorite flavors from Chicken Parmesan into an easy baked pasta dish that would be great for this busy time of year. This easy baked pasta came out great and even my picky eater loved it and gave it two thumbs up.
There may seem like there are a lot of steps, but the dish comes together quickly, I promise.
To start, cook the penne for about 3/4 of the time according to the package directions, then drain.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the chicken pieces in a large skillet with a little olive oil until cooked through.
While your pasta and chicken are cooking, mix half the sauce, ricotta, some of the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a large bowl. Then stir in the cooked pasta and chicken.
Spoon the pasta into a large baking dish that has been lightly greased. Top with the remaining sauce, mozzarella cheese, and bread crumbs.
You can use light or low fat cheeses but please note that the cheese may not melt or get as bubbly so you may be disappointed.
Bake the pasta at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and it’s heated through. If the top or edges start to brown too quickly, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil to finish baking.
One of the best parts of this dish is you can make it ahead of time! Make the recipe according to the directions by spooning the pasta into the pan and covering with sauce and cheese, BUT do not add the bread crumbs to the top and do not bake. Be sure it’s cooled completely, then cover the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
When you’re ready to bake, remove the dish from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top then bake as directed. Easy!
The holidays can be so stressful, but I have some quick entertaining tips for you to make your life easier!
- PLAN – Print out my free Party Planner Checklist and fill it out ahead of time so you’re ready to go when entertaining.
- MAKE AHEAD – Do as much as you can ahead of time. Look for recipes like this Easy Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta that you can make ahead of time. See below for more easy baked pasta recipes from Barilla.
- DECORATE – Keep decorations simple and easy. A few candles, small floral arrangements, or small holiday decorations are perfect for entertaining.
- LET YOUR GUESTS HELP – Nothing wrong with asking your guests to help by bringing their favorite dish or have them help during the party. Instead of telling them what to bring, ask them what they’d like to bring and plan around.
- FAVORS – A small gift to send your guests off with is a great way for your guests to remember the night. Even if the night is a disaster, if you end on a positive note, everyone will remember the kind gesture. Homemade gifts or homemade food (like my Homemade Hot Chocolate) make great gifts! An Italian basket of food and goodies along with a box of Barilla pasta and sauce and a recipe would also make a memorable gift.
Hope you enjoy this Easy Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta!
Easy Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta Recipe
- 1 (1 lb.) box Barilla Penne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds raw boneless skinless chicken breasts; cut into small bite-size pieces
- 1 (24 oz.) jar Barilla Tomato & Basil Sauce divided
- 1 (16 oz.) container ricotta cheese
- 1 (8 oz.) bag shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs or Italian style panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish or large casserole dish with butter or nonstick spray.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 3/4 of the time according to package directions. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, place olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- In a large bowl combine half of tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning until well combined. Stir in cooked penne and chicken. Spoon evenly into prepared baking dish.
- Spoon remaining tomato sauce evenly on top of pasta, then sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over cheese.
- Bake pasta at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking. Cool slightly before serving.
Other recipes perfect for the holidays from Barilla you may enjoy:
- Barilla Baked Ziti with Cheese
- Barilla Baked Elbows with Fontina Cheese and Spinach
- Barilla Baked Rigatoni with Porcini Mushrooms and Parmigiano Cheese