Do you love traditional Italian chicken cacciatore, but want things to be quick in the kitchen? This easy chicken cacciatore pasta casserole recipe comes together fast in one dish and is baked for a hands-off dinner idea.
There’s no need to pre-cook the noodles, they go in dry with the sauce and meat and cook entirely in the oven.
This best of all family comfort foods then gets topped with mozzarella for an extra cheesy one pot meal!
Did you know that cacciatore means hunter? Well, I didn’t.
I didn’t even know chicken cacciatore existed until a few weeks ago.
I was looking for easy dinners and came across this Italian/American dish. We love things drenched in tomato sauce so I thought it couldn’t hurt to try it.
One thing that often stresses me out when I’m preparing our meals is that I have a
noisy darling little thing clutching my legs while I’m trying to handle the meat, the side dish and the baby food.
So I thought – why not add the flavors of the easy chicken cacciatore to a pasta bake?
Let me just say, it tastes brilliant. Brilliant doesn’t even do it justice.
It’s huntingly good (see what I did there? So
clever cheesy whoops, did it again).
The first time round I pre-cooked the pasta but I found it turned out a bit too mushy that way.
So I tried adding it uncooked and it was just perfect.
You get those browned crunchy pieces just under the layer of cheese and the rest of the pasta is cooked exactly right.
And the best thing? You only have one dish to wash! No extra pan to boil the pasta, not even a colander to drain it.
I have already added this recipe to our regular dinner routine – and let me just say this: You should do so as well. It’s easy, it’s simple and everyone will love it!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (ideally 4 pieces)
- Salt & pepper
- 2 large peppers, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 12 ounce box whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 jar 24oz tomato basil spaghetti sauce, 625g, or use 24 ounces crushed tomatoes with your own seasoning
- 1 1/4 cup water, 300ml
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 110g
- leaves Handful fresh basil, optional
- Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C). Grease a very deep 7x11 inch casserole dish with the olive oil. (I used an 8x12 inch dish, I found mine at IKEA).
- Place the chicken breasts at the bottom of the casserole dish and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
- Evenly top with the chopped peppers, onion and garlic. Add the dry pasta in top and push everything slightly down. Carefully pour the spaghetti sauce and water over everything, spreading it out evenly with the back of a spoon.
- Cover the baking pan tightly with aluminium foil and bake on the middle rack for 60 to 80 minutes (this time really depends on how hot your oven runs!) or until the pasta is almost done. Remove the foil, sprinkle the cheese on top and finish baking for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
- Spoon the pasta onto four plates and top each serving with a chicken breast and vegetables. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves if you like and serve immediately.