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baked pasta with three cheeses

I think I need a little girl time.

Earlier today I took a quick look at my calendar for the remainder of February and on into March and it is filled with lots and lots of sports.

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching my boys play baseball and basketball (or running around playing tag for that matter), but sometimes you need something other than sitting on the sidelines, Diet Coke in hand to get your girlfriend fix.

I don’t think it’s something that a little online shopping can cure either.  I’ve tried it.  And, although those personal shoppers at J. Crew sure are courteous and helpful, they just won’t do.

It’s face-to-face, laughing and telling stories with a glass of wine in hand, feet propped up and a whole lot of laughter.

I could even forgo the glass of wine.  Maybe.

That’s the kind of evening I need to get on the calendar.  I’ll just have to sneak it in between trips to the ballpark.

baked pasta with three cheeses

So the next time you’re planning a gathering of your best pals or sweetest neighbors, why not stay in?  You could make this (just an idea).  It was simple to prepare, comforting on a winter evening, and who doesn’t like a nice baked pasta dish right out of the oven?

recipe for baked pasta with three cheeses

Putting this together was really easy, especially with inspiration from this recipe and this one too.  I literally had everything I needed except for the fresh basil and a quick trip to my grocery store for that and I was ready to begin.

Baked Pasta with Three Cheeses


1 lb rigatoni or penne pasta, cooked al dente

1 lb chicken breasts (bone in), roasted and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 16-ounce can tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano cheese

1/3 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

1/2 cup half and half

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Kosher salt

8 ounces fresh mozzarella

flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional)


Place a medium skillet over medium high heat.  When hot, add olive oil.  When oil is ready, add minced garlic and saute until just translucent or about 3 minutes.

Puree tomatoes in the bowl of your food processor.  Add the tomato paste and pulse to incorporate into the puree.

To a large mixing bowl, add the tomato puree, both grated cheeses, the half and half,  the fresh basil, the garlic and the chicken.  Add the cooked pasta and stir until combined.  Season with kosher salt.  Add the pasta mixture to a baking dish.  Top with slices of fresh mozzarella and bake at 375 degrees until cheese is melted and pasta is heated through.  Top with chopped parsley before serving.

Serves: 6-8