Chicken Florentine Bake
1 - 1 1/2 pounds chicken(I used breast but feel free to use dark meat or even rotisserie)
10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach- thawed, drained and squeezed dry
13.25 box of rigatoni pasta(feel free to use penne or rotini also)
8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
4 oz shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 cup half and half or whole milk
1 cup chicken stock(you can use the stock you make from poaching the chicken!)
2-3 fresh sage leaves - shredded(optional)
a few dashes of nutmeg
salt and pepper
1. Start by poaching your chicken. Check out my tips on poaching chicken and making your own chicken stock here: http://makingmealsforhim.blogspot.com/2012/09/chicken-tortilla-soup.html
|Poaching the chicken|
2. While your chicken is poaching, start your water boiling for your pasta. Once the water starts to boil, salt the water and add the pasta. Cook pasta till al dente. Make sure not to take the pasta all the way till finished, as it will cook further while its being baked.
3. Once your pasta and chicken are going, you can start the cream sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt completely. Once the butter is melted, add the flour. Whisk the flour into the butter until is is completely incorporated. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook for about 30 seconds. Now add the half and half and chicken stock and continue to whisk. Turn heat up to medium high to high. The mixture will start to thicken once it comes up to a bubble. Continue to whisk sauce until it thickens, then reduce heat to medium to medium low. Next add Parmesan cheese, pepper, sage, and nutmeg and whisk in. Once those three ingredients are incorporated, add in the spinach. Once spinach is incorporated, turn off heat and let stand until ready to mix into casserole.
|Spinach Cream Sauce|
4. When your chicken is done poaching, let it cool a bit and cut it into chunks. Drain your pasta. Now it's time to combine everything( I used a big bowl to combine everything but you could also use the pan you poached your chicken in.). Add your chicken, pasta, and cream sauce and combine. Put the mixture into your baking dishes and top with the mozzarella cheese.