One of the things I had in mind to make when Bogdan came home was a chicken and spinach lasagna. I didn’t have lasagna noodles on hand, though, and saw no need to buy them, because I made chicken and spinach penne. It was fabulous! I’ll definitely try it again.
Cheese Chicken and Spinach Penne
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces (uncooked weight) penne pasta, cooked according to package instructions
12 ounces cottage cheese*
1 large chicken breast, chopped
– olive oil and several shakes of black pepper, smoked paprika, basil, and oregano for seasoning chicken
~ 7 ounces of fresh spinach, leaves torn in half
1. Melt butter over low heat. Add garlic. Fry until garlic is lightly browned. Remove from heat. Stir in flour and salt. Very gradually wisk in the milk, then chicken broth, so that no lumps form. Heat, stiring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat, and wisk in parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Set aside.
2. In a medium-large skillet, fry the chicken in olive oil with seasonings, as well as the chopped onion. When chicken is done and onions are translucent, add the spinach and cover, with heat on low, until spinach is cooked.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Spread about a third of the cheesy mixture in the bottom of the dish. Top with one-third of the pasta, one-third of the chicken/spinach mixture, one-third of the cottage cheese, and then one-third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat twice. Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top if desired.
5. Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a cooked vegetable or salad, and garlic bread.
* I did not use cottage cheese in these pictures but it is delicious!