Italian Baked Chicken And Pastina

I've had Giada's Italian Baked Chicken and Pasta bookmarked for months now and finally am getting around to making it. I thought it'd be good, but didn't expect it to be awesome; it's really just a simple dish.

It was, however, far better than I expected. My son, who currently will not eat anything that isn't a Cheerio, ate a ton of this! That alone makes this dinner a winner, no?

Next time, I must double it. It made just enough for the three of us; there aren't any leftovers. More is better!

Confession: I was totally channeling my inner child while at the store; I went for the little alphabets rather than pastina. I felt so... childlike? while eating them.


1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes) 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion) 1 clove garlic, minced 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice 1 cup shredded mozzarella 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup bread crumbs 1/4 cup grated Parmesan 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

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 chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 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.