Recipe Swap: Italian Baked Pastina with Grilled Chicken

This recipe swap theme was pasta......yummy! I submitted the recently posted recipe for Sausage Cacciatore. In return, I received Baked Italian Chicken and Pastina from Nicole at Cookies on Friday. I love pasta dishes so naturally I was really excited about the theme for this swap! If you haven't noticed I am not a big fan of baked chicken. I usually find any reason possible to shred the chicken or grill the chicken. The original recipe called for pieces of chicken to be baked with the pasta. I decided that I needed to grill it, as I said, baked chicken pieces and I do not mesh... I made a few changed to the recipe by adding sour cream and extra garlic. Ron and I grilled the chicken with a little salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. I really like the flavors of the pasta, and the parsley flavors were fresh and tasty.  The grilled chicken was awesome with the baked pasta- very hearty and rustic! Another great, and super easy recipe to bring to our dinner table! Be sure to check out Sarah at A Taste of Homecooking for more delicious pasta dishes!

Italian Baked Pastina with Grilled Chicken
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1 1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta. we use gluten free)
1 tablespoons olive oil  
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus some for seasoning chicken
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus some for seasoning chicken
1/4 cup bread crumbs (we use gluten free)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Put the onion mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, sour cream, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a greased 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

While pasta is baking, brush chicken with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Heat grill to medium heat. Grill chicken breasts 5 minutes per side or until juices run clear. Remove chicken from grill and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Remove pasta from over, plate, and top with sliced grilled chicken breast.

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