Friday, August 7, 2009

Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine

I made this early last year for the first time and loved it so much I have made it several times since. Both without the chicken as a side dish and also with the chicken for a hearty family meal. When I made it for the beach, I almost quadrupled the recipe (mixing all the ingredients together in two large bowls was rather hilarious); but when I make it for Chuck and myself I make the original recipe and then have plenty of leftovers. (And ignore the link's claim that this makes 8 servings - not if you like to eat!)

The idea of cottage cheese used for part of the sauce is not a new one, but one that I had not used before making this. Processing the cheese until smooth makes it into a thick, yet healthy, alternative to the rich cream sauces you may find on pasta bakes like this one. This dish has a lot of veggies in it, some of which you may not like, but I recommend trying them all at first - the combination of all of them together in addtion to the three cheeses is really delicious!

And again, I apologize for the blue-tinted pictures, this is the last of them!

Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
slightly adpated from Cooking Light
Makes 4-6 large servings

8 ounces penne pasta (or any tube-shaped pasta)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
7 ounces roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (white is better for blending in)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup skim or 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray and set aside.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Cooke penne according to directions to al dente, drain and set aside. (You can put a little bit of olive oil on the cooked penne to keep it from sticking together while you cook the vegetables.)

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion, saute 4 minutes or until tender. Add roasted red peppers, spinach, oregano, and black pepper, saute 3 minutes or until heated through.

Process cottage cheese in a food processor until very smooth. In a large bowl, combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk and soup. Mix thoroughly.

Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.


Annie said...

This sounds totally awesome and delicious!

ShoeFanatic614 said...

Oh my gosh, that looks so amazing! Even if it is blue!

Melanie said...

I am definitely bookmarking this - it looks awesome!

Jackie at said...

That's an awesome dish to make for a pot luck. It seems easy to transport, is it?. Yummy!

Molly Jean said...

How funny! I just made a chicken florentine version too! Although I have to admit, yours looks better :)

Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

STARRED! This looks so fabulous!!

Anonymous said...

This looks really good. I love that you get a creamy, cheesy sauce without a million calories!