I LOVE this recipe!  Everyone in the house likes it too.  G likes it on most days.  Sometimes, I think he thinks it looks scary, but I make him try it and he likes it.  He’ll end up eating his whole serving.

I used to follow the recipe exactly – and it’s good.  But, you know the Food Good guy, he just can’t leave a recipe alone – he must make his mark.  After I tried his version, I totally loved it.  So, I had him teach me his version.  That’s a hard task because unless he’s trying to write something down (like for his blog), he’s a “little bit of this and a little bit of that” kind of guy.  So, I’ll give you the original version, and then below I’ll list the modifications so you can choose.

I used to double this recipe as this would be our only dish for dinner but I have stopped doing that so we were eating less pasta and adding a side of veggies.

Chicken Pastina Bake

Update!  Here’s the photo!
1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Modifications:
Substitute canned diced tomatoes with basil & garlic
Add a little bit of oregano and basil (about 1/2 tsp. each, or to taste)
Add some lemon juice (about 2 tbsp.)

Again, I gotta give credit to this recipe to Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis.  I love that there’s a video online of her making this dish.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Manda