Spring Cleaning Pasta Bake

Spring Cleaning is in the air er, kitchen!

You know how I feel about leftovers...so I've come up with a solution: AVOID THEM. Every couple of weeks, I open the fridge and challenge myself to use up as many items as I can in one dish. This week, I took on the three small heads of broccoli and some springs of parsley that were staring back at me from the crisper. There was also a small tub of plain yogurt, a package of fresh ricotta cheese, a couple of cooked chicken breasts, and some mozzarella cheese. I checked the pantry and grabbed some spices, olive oil, a box of pasta and a package of breadcrumbs, and got to work.

About 40 minutes later, this was on the table:

Whole Wheat Pasta Bake with Ricotta, Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Bread Crumbs
2 TBS plus 2 tsp olive oil
1 cup bread crumbs (panko)
Kosher salt
1 TBS plus 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups broccoli florets
13 oz. box whole wheat rigatoni
1 cup chopped chicken breast (cooked)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 - 2 tsp garlic powder
Red pepper flakes
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
4 oz. shredded mozzarella

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 3

To Do:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Fill a large pot with water (for pasta), add a handful of salt, and heat to boiling.
  • While the water is coming to a boil, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a small pan/pot over medium high heat and add the bread crumbs, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon of parsley. Stir constantly, until golden brown (about 5 mins), then remove from heat.
  • Toss broccoli with the remaining 2 TBS of olive oil and roast in oven for about 20 minutes, until browned and slightly crispy, then set aside -- but leave the oven on.
  • When  the water comes to a boil, add pasta and boil until al dente, then drain (do not rinse).
  • In a large pot (you can use the now-empty pasta one), mix together the chicken, yogurt, ricotta, garlic powder, a pinch or two of the red pepper flakes and salt to taste, then heat through.  
  • Gently stir in the pasta, roasted broccoli, and cubed mozzarella, then transfer to a casserole dish.
  • Top with shredded mozzarella and bake at 375 for about 10-15 minutes, until cheese has melted.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bread crumbs (save any extras for a salad topper), then bake for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Serve.

What's in your fridge?