Make this three-cheese chicken penne casserole that hits the spot every time

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Tomato sauce is good, and Alfredo sauce can really hit the spot sometimes, but pasta really shines when it's swimming in rose sauce. That's especially true when, as in the recipe below, that rose sauce is created using not cream but instead cream cheese. That's just one of the three kinds of cheese in this delicious casserole, and each of them brings a little something extra to the party.
Although pasta in rose sauce is good all on its own, it gets even better when you add chicken and spinach, too. What better way to get your veggies, protein and starch all in one dish? After getting just one taste of this pasta bake, you might just think that rose sauce is where pasta best shines, too.
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Cooktop Cove
Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake Casserole
6
10 minutes
45 minutes
55 minutes
1-1/2 cups penne pasta, uncooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, juices drained
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9-by-13 casserole dish.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil and allow it to heat up as well.
Add chicken pieces, salt, pepper and dried basil to the skillet. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
When chicken is done cooking, add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and lower heat, simmering for 3 minutes.
Add cream cheese and stir, cooking just until melted.
Drain the cooked pasta and add to the chicken and tomato sauce mixture. Add spinach and continue turning and stirring into the sauce just until the spinach wilts.
Stir in the mozzarella cheese and cook until melted.
Pour the entire mixture into the casserole dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the entire casserole is heated through and bubbling along the sides.
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