Color & Control:

Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake

This chicken pasta bake is cheesy with a smoky kick, thanks to the combination of chipotle peppers and smoked Gouda cheese. If you want to mellow the smoky flavor, regular Gouda works just as well. Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray or brush it with a little oil to prevent the cheesy topping from sticking. Serve with a simple side salad or garlic-roasted broccoli.


12 ounces whole-wheat penne (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 (24-ounce) jar lower-sodium marinara sauce
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups stemmed and chopped kale
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1 ¾ cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese, divided


Position oven rack 10 inches from broiler; preheat to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add oregano, garlic and chipotle; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in marinara; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add cream cheese and salt; cook, stirring, until the cream cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Add kale; cook, stirring constantly, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the pasta, chicken and 1 cup Gouda. Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup Gouda.

Cover with foil and bake until the cheese is melted, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven; discard foil. Increase oven temperature to broil and preheat for 5 minutes. Return the pan to the oven; broil until the cheese is browned in a few spots, 3 to 5 minutes.


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