Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Italian Baked Chicken with Pastina


I hit the jackpot at the grocery store the other day. Barilla's Pastina was on sale for $.39 cents a box. We all know that pasta isn't expensive, but $.39 cents a box? That's just a steal!

I love a good deal about as much as I love pasta, so you can imagine what I did to their display. I emptied it. Yep! I pretty much took every box that was within my reach. You know what I was thinking? YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH PASTA!

When my husband carried in the groceries he noticed several grocery bags filled with little blue boxes. Curiously he emptied the bags and lined up the little blue boxes on the counter. Fourteen boxes of pastina sat there staring up at him. It was at that moment when I wondered if I had went a little overboard. What do you think? How many boxes would you have bought?

Needless to say, we've been eating and enjoying lots of pastina. I'm actually really happy that I bought so many boxes because they've been great to have on hand. The little stars are so cute, the kids love them, and they cook in about 4-5 minutes. They are perfect for busy weeknight meals. In fact, we've enjoyed them so much that I chose to use them for this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme, which is Served Family Style.
Italian Baked Chicken with Pastina
by Giada De Laurentiis, recipe found on Food Network
* 1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
* 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup bread crumbs
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
* 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Notes/Results: This is one of those kid-friendly meals that the whole family will enjoy. We all loved the crispy and buttery topping made from breadcrumbs, Parmesan and butter. I also think this recipe lends itself well to adaptations. Next time, I'd like to sneak in more veggies!

Currently cooking the recipes of Giada De Laurentiis!

27 comments:

  1. Can i tell you how many times I have contemplated making this recipe? Um, just about every time I go to the FN site. I love your idea of sneaking in more veggies. Peas, broccoli, the works!

    I would have probably bought ten or so boxes. If it were penne...I would ahve probably bought about 50.

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  2. What a great recipe! And I agree, for 39 cents i'd buy a bunch too. What girl can resist a bargain? LOL
    *kisses* HH

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  3. Hey, soup season is upon us, and there is no better pasta for soup, than Pastina. :) I probably would have taken every box they had!

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  4. This is the second post I've read in the last few minutes that included pastina. It must be on sale everywhere, lol! I just love Giada's recipes, I have one of her cookbooks and can honestly say everything I've made has been a hit. This recipe sounds like it would be no exception!

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  5. Kim, great looking dish, that would be perfect to serve on a busy weeknight! And for 39 cents I would have bought at least 10 boxes as well, the pastina shape is perfect especially for soups :o)

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  6. This made me laugh...picturing your husband emptying a grocery bag of 14 boxes of pasta. I would have stocked up too. We eat a lot of pasta. This recipe does look like it would lend itself to many possibilities based on what you already have. Gotta love that as much as 39 cent pasta!

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  7. Hi! I love your blog! I am your newest follower!

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  8. That recipe sounds delicious. I never think to make pastina. Sounds like you got a great deal!

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  9. Kim, talk about serendipity! I just went to the store today and walked by all the boxes of tiny pastini! I grew up on countless varieties of soups and casseroles with this yummy pasta! Mmmmm ! Thanks for bringing back the good memories! I haven't decided yet on what I'll do for Giada's recipes this week yet, but hopefully the 'aha' moment will appear! Great job!

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  10. Kim, I'm sitting here chuckling over your 14 boxes of pastina, but it brings back such great memories of my childhood that I want to run out and buy a box. I've only ever used it in soups (except when I'm sick and crave it with butter). I love Giada's recipe and will give this one a try soon. I like your idea of getting more veggies in, too.

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  11. My Mom loves pastina! It reminds her of being a kid. She made it for us last week for lunch. I've been known to do similar things - pasta will last a long time and at a price like that - why not? This pasta looks wonderful - incredibly comforting!

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  12. Delicious! A must try for sure!

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  13. Thirty-nine cents!?!? I am over the moon that I nabbed pasta for a dollar. What a deal!
    I would have bought them out too. ☺
    Great dish, definite comfort food.

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  14. I have made this recipe, was going to make it for the I Heart Cookbook Club. It is sooooo good! As far as too many boxes of pastine... my mom use to call that money in the bank!

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  15. Yum, I love pastina and the recipe seems delicious, BUT there is nothing Italian about it. Cheers from Maria (NY).

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  16. LMAO! I would have done exactly the same thing!! Pasta is my feeling lazy meal...as well as others, but when I don't feel like making anything, a simple pasta it is! This sounds fabulous, I bet it'd please my kiddos, too :D

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  17. Hey, I have looked at this recipe more than once! Luv seeing it made and reviewed! It does look like the perfect go-to pasta meal and now I am going to finally try it!

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  18. I just bought a bunch on sale too--but at more than twice the amount you paid. ;-) The macaroni was in my soup this week and I was going to make another soup with the little stars but I might have to make this--it looks and sounds amazing. Great pick!

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  19. great recipe and I also love those cute little pastas - have a lovely weekend

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  20. What a great family dish, Kim - pasta just seems to be such a great people pleaser, doesn't it.

    What an amazing bargain on your pasta - even if I convert that to New Zealand dollars it's still a bargain. Barilla is one of my favourite brands (the other is De Cecco), but both are pretty expensive here.

    Sue

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  21. Smart buy, Kim. Kids love those little pastas.
    So many ways to serve them too,
    This dish looks delish and that topping adds the perfect crunch!

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  22. I would have emptied the shelf of the little blue boxes of pastina too. beautiful, satisfying chicken and pastina dish. Very nice.

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  23. Delicious pasta dish. I'm with you on the pastina. My kids love it as a snack with a little butter and Parmesan cheese.
    Mimi

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  24. I most likely would have bought a similar amount being that I do have a lot of extra room to spare!! And being that you can make recipes like this one with the pasta, you should use em up in no time!

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  25. What a comforting sounding casserole. Love the topping. I'm with you. I'd have grabbed everything within reach too.

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  26. Providing that they were not close dated, 14 boxes is entirely reasonable:)

    I bet this pasta was the "star" of the meal! (Yes, feel free to boo me for that one.)

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  27. You definitely didn't go overboard...you can never have too much pasta! This looks like a tasty italian dinner!

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