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This Chicken, Bacon and Brussels Sprout Baked Penne is a cozy, comforting winter meal that’s perfect for holiday get-togethers. Packed with whole grain penne, plenty of veggies and chicken, it’ll fuel you up for the busy season ahead!
Oh em gee, oh em gee, oh em gee. Someone sign me up for pastaholics anonymous because I’m about to seriously overdose on this baked penne. It’s so, so addicting and delicious! I mean… pasta and bacon and cheese. HELLO!
But also… brussels sprouts. Is anyone else addicted to brussels sprouts? I don’t know why they ever get a bad rap because they are seriously one of my all time favorite veggies. A big bowl of roasted brussels is heavenly winter comfort food to me. Especially when paired with bacon!
Anywho, the holidays are upon us now (how did that happen, right?– wasn’t it just ten thousand degrees out?), and that means: family! parties! entertaining! The holidays are all about getting together and sharing food and festivities with our loved ones.
One of my favorite things to make for dinner parties and get-togethers is pasta! It’s perfect for a crowd and there are so many ways to jazz it up. Baked pastas are especially perfect because you can assemble everything earlier in the day (or week) and just pop it in the oven right before your guests arrive. That way your sink isn’t full of dishes and your kitchen isn’t a disaster zone. Not that that ever happens in my house (yeah right!). Baked pastas are also great if you’re making something to take with you to someone else’s house.
My favorite pasta to use is Barilla®. I’ve been using the Barilla Classic Blue Box pasta forever, but now they have so many different products to choose from! Lately I’ve been using a lot of Barilla Whole Grain pasta. It’s great because it’s made with 100% whole wheat but still has the same great taste of regular pasta. You can never go wrong with a little extra whole grain in your life.
So anyways, this Chicken, Bacon and Brussels Sprout Baked Penne is going to go like this: You’re going to get a rotisserie chicken and shred it all up. You’re going to cook some Barilla Whole Grain penne and some sprouts, and some onions and garlic for good measure. And you’re going to mix all that with some delicious bacon.
Then you’re going to make a ridiculously cheesy cream sauce (with white cheddar and Parm) and pour it all over everything. You’re going to put it in a casserole dish, sprinkle more cheese on top and bake it to perfection!
This dish is such a perfect winter meal. It’s cozy and comforting, but packed full of veggies, chicken and whole grains. It’s a meal your whole family will love– even if they think they don’t like brussels sprouts. This is a game changer.
The holidays are a busy time of year, so here are a few hacks for pulling this dish together quickly!
- Use a rotisserie chicken! Not only are those rotisserie chickens from the store easy and delicious, they’re one less thing you have to cook! Just pull off the skin and shred the chicken up.
- Shredded brussels sprouts. Lucky for us, brussels sprouts now come pre-shredded in bags. If you can’t find them, you can shred your own using the slicer on your food processor pretty quickly, but definitely check your produce section for pre-shredded ones to save you some work.
- Pre-cooked bacon. It’s perfect in here since you’ll be heating it up again anyways. But if you prefer to cook your own, you can do that, too.
- 1 lb shredded brussels sprouts
- 1 lb Barilla Whole Grain penne pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken, bones and skin removed, shredded
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2½ cups shredded white cheddar cheese, divided
- 1¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 12 slices cooked bacon, roughly chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the shredded brussels sprouts to the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes until bright green and tender crisp. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water, pressing out as much water as possible.
- Add more water to fill the pot back up for the pasta and return to a boil. Cook the penne to al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, toss everything together and cook 1 minute until chicken is warmed. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium sauce pot, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until it smells toasty and is just beginning to turn golden. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. When the milk comes to a boil, stir in 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 1 cup of Parmesan. Once cheese is melted, remove from heat. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
- In a large bowl (or the pasta pot), combine pasta, brussels sprouts, chicken mixture, bacon and cheese sauce. Toss everything to combine and transfer to a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Top with remaining cheeses.
- Bake 10 minutes uncovered, until cheese is bubbly and penne is heated through. Note: If you refrigerate the penne prior to baking, bake for 20 minutes covered with foil, then 10 minutes uncovered.
I found my Barilla Whole Grain pasta at Target. Where else? It’s pretty much the only place I shop these days since it’s such an easy one-stop shopping store for me. They carry the whole line of Barilla pasta, including Veggie, Gluten Free, and the Classic Blue Box! And I’m obsessed with using the Target Cartwheel app– I save money on every trip just by scanning all my items in the app and checking for coupons. Right now, you can get 20% off Barilla Pronto Pasta on Cartwheel (expires 11/26/16).
What’s your favorite pasta dish to make for the holidays!?