Very simple and good. I tripled the batch for a church event. Because I prepared the 3 pans the night before, I did add about 2 cups extra milk to the tripled sauce recipe before assembling, to help it not dry out. Here are my make-ahead instructions: Make chicken and cut up (can be done several days prior ).
The day before: cook the noodles for 7-8 minutes (you want them still firm but not hard), rinse under cool water and cool completely. Prepare sauce, thinning as noted above. Assemble the dish per the recipe instructions. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. The next day, place dish into a 350 degree oven for an hour. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes.
Just made this for the first time. Only thing different I will do next time is a little extra milk. The sauce was just a little thicker than I wanted (just personal taste). But, the taste was great and it was easy to prepare. Thanks for sharing it! It has been added to my recipes.:D
1 (16 ounce) package penne pasta
1/2 cup butter.
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts, patted dry
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic; saute until golden, about 30 seconds. Stir in cream cheese until smooth. Add milk; stir until there are no lumps. Lower heat to medium. Add 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese, parsley, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and garlic powder on both sides. Cook chicken breasts until no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 6 minutes per side. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Butter bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Cover bottom with a layer of pasta. Place half of the chicken cubes on top. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the chicken. Repeat layering pasta, chicken, and sauce. Sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake in the preheated oven until sauce is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake until cheese is golden, about 5 minutes more.