Chef Joel & Jenn: Rigatoni Chicken Parm Bake

A couple of days ago we were watching The Daily Show and they did a segment on how Facebook is where the majority of people get their news. Although for me it's Twitter, I do go on Facebook more then I'd like to admit. My newsfeed is a mixture of anti-Trump, pro-Clinton news articles with the occasional friend posting a picture of his/her kid and a recipe thrown in the mix. This past Sunday I did my normal morning Facebook browsing and came across a video recipe for a Rigatoni Chicken Parm Bake that I immediately showed to Jenn and we decided to try and make it. 

The recipe which has its fair share of ingredients wasn't the most challenging recipe we've ever made but it wasn't what I'd consider a weeknight meal either. We started out with chopping up two chicken breasts into small pieces and mixing those with Italian breadcrumbs and two beaten eggs. Once they were nice and coated we cooked them in hot vegetable oil until cooked through. At the same time Jenn cooked the Rigatoni. 

Before it went in the oven. 

From there we put all of the ingredients (cheeses, sauce, chicken and pasta) into a casserole dish and baked it in the oven for twenty minutes. And like that we had dinner. From start to finish the entire process took a little over an hour but was well worth it. The chicken was moist and the breadcrumbs from Whole Foods made for a great fried chicken. The entire dish came together really nicely and both Jenn and I easily cleaned our plates. 

And now out of the oven

Although this is not a meal that I will be making on a random Tuesday anytime soon, it is one that I could see us making again. It combines pasta which Jenn loves and chicken parmesan which I love into one great dish. 


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c. italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 package rigatoni pasta
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  • Make the Chicken Parmesan Nuggets: Place chicken and eggs in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag, tossing to coat. Add Italian breadcrumbs to the bag, sealing and shaking until the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated.
  • Pour just enough vegetable oil into a large sauté pan to coat the bottom, and placing it over medium heat. Once warm, carefully add the chicken nuggets, cooking them on all sides until crispy. The chicken should be totally white inside when you cut it open (about 3-4 minutes).
  • Place cooked chicken nuggets on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Make the Rigatoni: Cook pasta according to package's instructions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Assemble the Bake: Pour a little marinara sauce onto the bottom of a casserole pan. In a large mixing bowl, toss the rigatoni with the remaining marinara, mozzarella, parmesan and chicken parm nuggets. Ladle the mixture into the casserole dish. Top with a little mozzarella and bake in the oven until the cheese has melted, about 15-20 minutes. Top with fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe Source: Delish