Cheesy Chicken Rigatoni – Experience the enchantment of gastronomy with our Cheesy Chicken Rigatoni. This dish embodies a fusion of tender chicken, rigatoni pasta, and a delectable cheese sauce promising a symphony of flavors. Allow the ingredients. Rigatoni, chicken, and a combination of mozzarella and parmesan. To transport you straight to the heart of Italy.
I still vividly remember the first time I prepared this recipe on a chilly winter evening. The house was filled with the aroma of cheese and garlic. One bite was enough for my husband to look up with that unmistakable “this is divine” expression, on his face confirming that I had created something truly special. As for my little one? Let’s just say they couldn’t resist requesting an encore for dinner the next day!
What makes this Cheesy Chicken Rigatoni truly stand out?
This dish flawlessly grasps the essence of Italian cooking while seamlessly mixing it with the palliative warmth of a homemade meal. The tantalizing combination of mozzarella and parmesan creates an irresistible cheese pull that’s dream-worthy. Its versatility ensures it’s not ideal, for a family dinner but also sophisticated enough to impress guests at a dinner party.
What You Need To Make This Cheesy Chicken Rigatoni Recipe?
Rigatoni: We chose this type of pasta, for its tube shape, which is perfect for capturing and holding onto the sauce. When cooking it make sure to aim for al dente texture to maintain its structure and prevent it from becoming too soft when baked.
Cooked Chopped Chicken: Adding some diced chicken brings a protein element to the dish. For the best results go with breast or thigh meat as they are tender. Can absorb the flavors around them more effectively.
Cream of Chicken Soup: This ingredient not only adds depth and creaminess. Also imparts a comforting and homely flavor to the dish. If you prefer you can find reduced sodium versions in grocery stores.
Cheeses (Mozzarella & Parmesan): The combination of mozzarella and parmesan creates a cheesy blend. Mozzarella melts beautifully. Has a stretch while parmesan adds a nutty and salty kick. It’s always better to use shredded cheese than pre-packaged options for superior melting performance.
Cheese Soup: This underrated gem takes the cheese factor in this dish up a notch. It creates a velvety base, for our sauce making it incredibly creamy.
Evaporated Milk & Heavy Cream: These dairy powerhouses contribute to the texture and richness of the sauce. Evaporated milk, with its concentration compared to milk, imparts a rich flavor profile while the addition of heavy cream introduces a velvety smoothness.
Minced Garlic: A fundamental ingredient, in Italian cuisine garlic brings a touch of spiciness and aromatic essence. Opting for minced will always provide the intense flavor but if needed, pre-minced or even garlic powder can be used as alternatives.
Black Pepper: Though seemingly insignificant the punch of black pepper has the power to elevate the entire dish by enhancing its intricate layers of flavors.
Steps To Make Cheesy Chicken Rigatoni:
Step 1: Start by setting your oven to 350ºF and giving a 9×13-inch pan a quick spray with your favorite cooking spray.
Step 2: Dive into the pasta: cook the rigatoni following the package’s love letter of instructions. Once done, drain and set aside.
Step 3: Now, the cheese sauce! In a generously sized saucepan, pour in the cheese soup, evaporated milk, heavy cream, and that aromatic minced garlic. Let this mixture dance on medium-high heat until it reaches a boiling crescendo. Then, let it simmer and sway for about 5-7 minutes until it thickens to perfection. Off the heat, and in go the mozzarella, parmesan, and a pinch of pepper.
Step 4: In a large welcoming bowl, introduce your cooked rigatoni to the chicken, cream of chicken soup, and that glorious cheese sauce you just made.
Step 5: Lay this mixture out in your prepared dish, serenading the top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
Step 6: Now, the oven magic: bake it uncovered for a good 45 minutes. You’re looking for bubbly joy and a golden crown on the cheese.
For a profoundness of flavor, you can endeavor to sauté your cooked and chopped chicken in a pan with a little olive oil, minced garlic and a dash of Italian herbs before blending it in. This uncomplicated technique adds depth to the flavor of the chicken making each morsel of rigatoni more pleasurable.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Absolutely! While rigatoni does a stellar job of embracing the cheese sauce, you can opt for penne or ziti as well.
What can be a good side to this dish?
A fresh green salad or some garlic bread complements the rich flavors beautifully.
How long does the leftover last in the fridge?
Stored in an airtight container, it should be good for 3-4 days. Just ensure it’s properly reheated before serving.
My name is Natasha and I am the owner of nodashofgluten.com, a blog dedicated to all kinds of recipes. On my website, you can find classic dishes, vegetarian delights, creative snacks, Gluten-free recipes, and desserts – all proving that cooking isn’t as hard as it seems! With easy-to-follow instructions and tips on how to make your meals even better, I strive to help everyone become master chefs in their own kitchen. Come join me at nodashofgluten.com for some delicious fun!