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Southwestern Chicken-Pasta Bake

Prep time 25 mins
Cook time 45 mins
Stand time 15 mins
Yield Serves: 10
Southwestern Chicken-Pasta Bake incorporates all the flavors from that region. This hearty baked dish is an excellent way to use leftover chicken, and it freezes well for future meals.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
  • 2 cups four-cheese Mexican blend
  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken (from a rotisserie bird)
  • Chopped cilantro, optional

Nutrition Information

  • calories 576
  • fat 32 g
  • satfat 19 g
  • protein 31 g
  • carbohydrate 41 g
  • fiber 2 g
  • cholesterol 130 mg
  • sodium 449 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F; mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes or as package directs. Drain.

  2. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder and 2 tsp. salt; sauté until onion is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes longer.

  3. Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and 1 cup cheese. Cook, whisking, for 1 minute or until cheese melts.

  4. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken and pasta. Scrape into baking dish; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Preheat broiler to high and broil casserole for a minute to brown, if desired.) Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired; serve.