Chicken and Kale Pasta Bake (Adapted from Martha Stewart and available at marthastewart.com)
Coarse salt and ground pepper (this is a lot of pasta, don't be dainty with the seasoning)
3/4 pound whole wheat pasta shells
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches kale (1 1/2 pounds), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken (directions below)
1 container (48 ounces) part-skim ricotta
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
3/4 cup Parmesan, grated (2 1/4 ounces)
[Optional: 4 tablespoons panko bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon melted butter]
- If you want to use a market rotisserie chicken, feel free. I took two split bone in skin on breasts and one bone in skin on thigh and rubbed a tablespoon of olive oil on them. I then salted them, peppered them, and onion powdered them. I roasted them in a 375 degree oven on a sheet pan until cooked through, about 1 hour. I let them cool to room temp, removed the skin and removed the chicken from the bone and then chopped the chicken. This made about 3 cups of cooked chicken. Reserve the extra cup for other uses.
- Once the chicken is ready, preheat oven to 350.
- In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and return to pot.
- In a large skillet heat the butter, add the garlic and onions and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the kale and stir until it wilts. Cover and cook until almost tender, 5 minutes.
- Add the kale mixture to the pasta, stir in the chicken, lemon zest and the ricotta cheese and mix until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Add salt and pepper and mix.
- Pour the pasta mixture into a large casserole dish or a 9 by 13 baking dish.
- If you want the breadcrumb crust, mix the melted butter, breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle over the top. Alternatively, you can just sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes until top is golden.