The way to my heart? A warm pasta dish with fresh, simple ingredients. When making a weeknight meal for my family, I like to incorporate seasonal ingredients that were picked at the peak of freshness. Today, I’m sharing a simple baked farfalle with chicken and ricotta recipe. This is the perfect fall pasta bake and combines the amazing flavor of simple farm fresh ingredients, like those you’ll find in Prego Farmers’ Market® Classic Marinara.
Prego Farmers’ Market® sauces are made from ingredients you’d find at your local farmers’ market, like vine-riped tomatoes. You can find them in the pasta and sauce aisle of your neighborhood Walmart store. Be sure to grab this coupon before you head to the store!
As the temperatures dip, I find myself craving baked pasta dishes almost daily. Baked pasta dishes warm me from the inside out, especially this baked chicken ricotta dish.
I used campanelle pasta for this baked pasta dish. I like campanelle because it’s cute. It has ruffled edges and is cone shaped. The cone shape allows it to hold more of the Prego Farmers’ Market® Classic Marinara Sauce. If you don’t have campanelle on hand, any short, round pasta will work wonderfully in this baked pasta dish. Think rigatoni, mostaccioli, or penne.
When cooking pasta, I like to bring the water to a rapid boil and then generously salt the water. For a half pound of pasta, I typically add 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water. Let the water return to a boil and then add your pasta and a drizzle of oil to prevent sticking. Why salt the water? As the pasta cooks, it expands as it absorbs the water. When it absorbs salted water, the flavor of the pasta is enhanced ever so slightly. Because we don’t salt our food at the table, salting the water adds an additional layer of flavor to our pasta dishes.
For a while, I felt like I was spending too much time in the kitchen and not enough time with my family. One thing I did to counter this issue was to adopt the “Work Smart, Not Longer” line of thinking during my meal prep. If I’m grilling chicken breast for dinner, I grill a few extra to have on hand for another meal. It’s simple time saving steps like this that make weeknight meals easier.
This baked chicken ricotta pasta is going to be a regular feature on our menu. It’s perfect for busy weeknight meals and fancy enough for Sunday family dinners. Remember to top with mozzarella cheese before slipping into the oven. We all know that you can’t have a true baked pasta dish without melted mozzarella.
- 1/2 Pound Campanelle Pasta, or other short pasta
- 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 8 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 8 ounces chicken breast, grilled
- 2 cups Prego Farmers' Market® Classic Marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil, as needed
- salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley, chopped, as garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking pan with non-stick spray.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and return to boil. Add campanelle and olive oil to boiling salted water and cook according to package instruction.
- While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in sautee pan over medium heat. sauté fresh spinach until slightly wilted, approximately 3 - 4 minutes.
- Once spinach is cooked, remove to plate.
- Using the same pan, sauté the mushrooms, approximately 4 - 5 minutes.
- Add cooked mushrooms to the plate with the spinach.
- Using the same pan, sauté the red bell pepper until soft, approximately 3 - 4 minutes.
- Add cooked red bell peper to the plate with the spinach and mushrooms.
- Using the same pan, add the chicken and Prego Farmers' Market® Classic Marinara sauce. Cook until heated through, approximately 3 - 4 minutes.
- Drain pasta and return to pasta pot.
- In the pasta pot, combine the pasta, mushrooms, spinach, red bell pepper, Ricotta cheese, and Prego Farmers' Market® Classic Marinara sauce mixture. Stir well to mix.
- Pour the pasta mixture into your prepared baking dish, top with Mozzarella cheese and bake for approximately 20 minutes until cheese is brown and sauce is bubbling.