1hr 7min prep: 8min cook: 59min
Rich and creamy, this baked pasta dish packs in all the textures and flavors people love about casseroles.Notes:
- Smoked mozzarella adds a whole new level of flavor; however, regular mozzarella is a good substitute if you prefer something more mild.
- Onion — 1⁄3 Cup
Meat & Seafood
- Bacon — 6 Slices
- Chicken Breast, Boneless And Skinless — 10 Ounces
Cheese & Lunchmeat
- Parmesan Cheese, Grated — 1⁄2 Cup
- Smoked Mozzarella — 2 Cups
Dairy & Eggs
- Whole Milk — 2 Cups
Grains & Pasta
- Elbow Pasta — 1⁄2 Pound
Spice & Baking
- Black Pepper
- Chili Powder — 1⁄2 Teaspoon
- Dried Basil — 1 Teaspoon
- Flour — 2 Tablespoons
- Garlic Powder — 1⁄2 Teaspoon
- Kosher Salt
Condiments, Oils & Dressings
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil — 1 Tablespoon
- Paper Towels
- Parchment Paper
- Stove Top — 2
- Baking Dish, 9″x9″
- Chef’s Knife
- Cutting Board
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Pot, Large (4-6 QT)
- Saucepan, Medium (2-4 QT)
- Sheet Pan
- Slotted Spoon
- Grate smoked mozzarella to measure indicated amount.
- Finely chop an onion to measure indicated amount.
- Roughly chop bacon into 1 inch pieces.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare a sheet pan with a layer of parchment paper. Dry chicken, set on sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and chili powder.
- Place chicken in preheated oven and bake until cooked through, about [25-30 minutes].
- Fill a large pot 2/3 high with water and cover. Place over high heat. Proceed with next step as water comes to a boil.
- Prepare a plate with layers of paper towels. Set plate near the stove for the cooked bacon.
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon pieces and cook until bacon is brown and nearly crispy. Stir often. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to plate of paper towels. Save saucepan.
- Once water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt and stir in elbow pasta. Cook until just slightly tender, about [6 minutes], or about 2 minutes less than package instructions. You want the pasta to be slightly undercooked since it will cook longer in the oven.
- Once chicken is out of the oven, allow it to cool until easier to handle, about 5 minutes.
- You want just enough bacon grease left in the saucepan to easily coat the bottom, about 1-2 tablespoons. Carefully pour or scoop out excess, then place pot back over medium heat. Add onions, dried basil and garlic powder. Crush basil between your fingertips as you add it to the pot. Saute onions until softened and translucent, stirring often.
- Stir in flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste, then stir or whisk in the milk. Keep stirring and be sure to get any flour from the edges of the pot. If flour is clumping, switch to a whisk. Allow milk to thicken as it slowly comes to a boil.
- Add smoked mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
- Once chicken is cool enough to handle, use hands or forks to shred the chicken apart. Place in the pot of cheese sauce. Stir in bacon and pasta.
- Pour chicken and pasta mixture into 9″x9″ baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over the top. Place in preheated oven and bake until top is brown and bubbly, about [10 minutes]. If top isn’t browning, place under broiler instead, but only for 2-5 minutes.
- Let pasta rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing.
- Scoop smoked mozzarella chicken pasta onto dinner plates. Serve warm!