10 ounces dry pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces chive and onion cream cheese
1 cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
1 cup whole milk, heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 – 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 cups cooked chicken (cubed or shredded)
1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, cut into large chunks
Fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a medium casserole dish with non-stick spray. (Mine was a 10″ round, but a 9 x 13 would work fine.) Cook pasta in salted, boiling water to al dente. Drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, heat butter in a medium saute pan set to medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes to slightly soften veggies.
Do not brown. Add in cream cheese and stir to melt. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sour cream, milk, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until everything is well-combined and melted. Turn off heat.
Combine the pasta, chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a large bowl.
Add in the sauce and gently stir to coat.
Pour into the prepared baking dish.
Top with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake uncovered for about 20 -25 minutes … or until casserole is bubbly and beginning to brown. Top with basil or parsley for garnish.
NOTE: In order for the pasta bake to not dry out, I place the baking dish on a sheet pan and add 1 – 2 cups of very hot water to the sheet pan once in the oven. This will create steam during the baking process and will help to keep everything moist.