Must-Make Dinner Recipe: Creamy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

October 4, 2016

Chilly Fall nights call for cozy meals and this Creamy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta recipe is simply warming comfort in a casserole! Jamielyn Nye, author of the new THE I HEART NAPTIME COOKBOOK, combines the classic Cordon Bleu ingredients - chicken, ham, Swiss cheese, bread crumbs - with creamy cheeses and pasta for a meal that it sure to please the whole family!

THE I HEART NAPTIME COOKBOOK is full of easy recipes for every meal of the day, time saver tips and tricks, kitchen hacks and entertaining tips, as well as a guide to freezer cooking and meal-planning. She even includes easy and fun craft ideas such as Ice Cream Sundae Kits, and templates for gift tags and spice labels. From breakfast through dessert you'll find over 100 recipes the whole family will love. Be sure to check out these other delicious recipes from THE I HEART NAPTIME COOKBOOK: Jamielyn's 5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake and her Baked Chicken Taquitos with Homemade Salsa and The Best Guacamole.

Creamy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta
Serves 6

PREP 25 min
COOK 25 min
TOTAL 50 min

"This creamy casserole is a delightful twist on the traditional chicken cordon bleu. It takes a little bit of extra work, but will soon become a dish the whole family will enjoy. It is the ultimate comfort food and totally worth the extra calories. We like to serve this pasta with a large salad or steamed veggies." ~Jamielyn Nye

Ingredients

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2½ cups uncooked penne or ziti
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped yellow onion
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 heaping teaspoon)
½ (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut into cubes, at room temperature
1½ cups half-and-half
1¼ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1½ cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup (1/4-inch) pieces ham steak
Salt and black pepper
4 to 6 slices Swiss cheese
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9 × 9-inch baking dish.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta, according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, and transfer it to a bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to coat. Set aside.

3. While the pasta cooks, in a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the cubes of cream cheese and allow them to melt. Very slowly whisk in the half-and-half and ½ cup of the Parmesan. Bring to a light simmer. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the parsley, the mustard, chicken, and ham. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in up to ¼ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, if needed, to thin the sauce.

4. Add the noodles to the sauce and toss to coat, then transfer half the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Arrange the Swiss cheese on top, then add the remaining pasta on top of the cheese.

5. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave. Stir in the bread crumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the pasta, then sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup Parmesan cheese. Add more if desired. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more, or until the top is lightly golden brown.

NOTE You can also skip the casserole and just mix the pasta and sauce together for a super-easy meal. This recipe also makes a great freezer meal.

Excerpted from the book THE I HEART NAPTIME COOKBOOK by Jamielyn Nye. Copyright © 2016 by Jamielyn Nye. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.  
 

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