baked cheesy chicken fettuccine alfredo

Ok, ok...  so I know I didn't actually use fettuccine noodles in this, but...  if you have little kids, you probably understand my desire to use short noodles in my cooking!

Regardless, I still call this dish fettuccine alfredo, because penne alfredo just doesn't sound right.  Whatever you call it...  it's delicious!

Creamy, cheesy, gooey, rich, satisfying...  so not good for you.

I'm not telling you to make this every night...  just give it a try for a special treat.  And yes, it is absolutely worth the splurge!!

This is a great meal to make ahead.  Just finish the recipe up until placing it in the oven and cover it and put it in the fridge instead!  You will need to bake it a bit longer to heat it up before serving.

Baked Cheesy Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

3/4 pound (or so) noodles (penne works great!)
1/2 cup butter, divided (3 tablespoons + the rest)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized-ish strips
1/4 cup flour
salt & pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup (or so) reserved pasta water*
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter a 9x13" baking dish.

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.  (I usually cook the whole pound and then dish up a bowl-full for my toddler and I to snack on while I cook!)  Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining and then set the noodles aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and chicken - seasoning with salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes if you'd like - and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Add the rest of the butter and stir and let melt.  Sprinkle the flour evenly over the chicken and cook, stirring, until the flour has absorbed most of the butter and has turn lightly golden brown.

Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Dump in the cooked noodles and the cheeses and stir until melted, adding in up to an additional 1/2 cup pasta water if needed.

Pour everything into the greased baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly.  If you'd like the top a little more golden, feel free to put it under the broiler for a few minutes!

Serve with lots of crusty garlic bread and wine!

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