There aren’t many things that Matt likes more than BBQ sauce, chicken and pasta. (I pride myself as one of them.)
So, as soon as I saw this BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake on one of my fave blogs, How Sweet It Is, I knew that it HAD be served at our apartment in less than 24 hours.
This recipe was great because it calls for things that you are very likely to have in your cupboard! The only ingredient I was worried about not having was the Panko breadcrumbs…but then I remembered that my mom has started putting them in her meatballs, and therefore I had a recently opened box on my shelf. (When my mom came to visit for the first time, I’m pretty sure she spent more time filling up my freezer than she did walking around Old Town! Or my apartment, for that matter.) And ironically, the two things that we always have in the fridge – BBQ sauce and cheese – were nowhere to be found. So, after I happily skipped around the grocery store (buying wayyy more that the two things I walked in for) I came home and got right to work!
Matt and Mr.Izzo walked in the door soon as I took this goddess of a casserole out of the oven. After I tortured them by taking a ga-jillion pictures for the blog (funny how I only liked two of them…Santa, I need a good camera!), I allowed us all to dig in! It was cheesy, saucy, gooey goodness in every bite, and the best part of all is that it’s actually light and healthy. A perfect dish for the end of summer, and the perfect way to a man’s heart, as Matt already asked me to make it again!
Chicken Pasta Bake BBQ
(adapted from How Sweet It Is)
- 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
- 3 cups whole wheat pasta (I used shells, but would also be great with rotini or penne)
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 2 ounces cheese, shredded (I used mozzarella b/c it was on sale. I am my mother!)
- 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare shredded chicken and pasta and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat EVOO and add diced onions. Add a bit of sea salt and let the onions caramelize for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
While onions are cooking, combine 1/4 cup BBQ sauce with shredded chicken. Once the onion is caramelized, set aside.
In another small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour, creating a roux. Immediately add skim milk and turn to low heat. Add one ounce of cheese and stir for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is completely melted and the mixture thickens.
In a casserole dish (I used a 9×13 pyrex dish) layer pasta, BBQ chicken and onions. Add cheese mixture a little bit at a time, and mix throughly so that every bit of ingredient is smothered with the cheese sauce. Top with additional sauce, cheese, Panko crumbs and drizzles of the remaining BBQ sauce. (I may have used a bit more than what remained, since my man seriously bleeds BBQ sauce.)
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Mangia, cowboy!