Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti -- all you need are 6 simple ingredients for this comforting and delicious dish! | gimmesomeoven.com

Do you ever look at your life and wonder just how you came to be where you are today?

I had one of those moments in the kitchen this past week when I was making this chicken parmesan baked ziti.

Granted, any baked pasta dish always brings me back to my college days when my roommates and I basically lived on pasta bakes night after night after glorious night.  I can distinctly remember my 20-year-old self, standing over a boiling pot of water, carefully reading the instructions on the back of that $1 package of cheap ziti, setting the oven timer for however many minutes the package prescribed, not having a clue what “al dente” actually meant.  But whenever that timer went off, I would dutifully drain the pasta and toss it whatever jarred spaghetti sauce we had in the pantry and a bag of mozzarella shredded cheese, and pop it in the oven to bake.

Oh yes.  Back then, this is what I considered a fancy home-cooked meal.

Well, if we really felt like going fancy and had a few dollars to spare, my roommates and I might toss in some pepperoni or maybe some of the powdered Parmesan we kept in the fridge.  But most nights, it was simple pasta + sauce + cheese, and that was a big step up from what was being served in the cafeteria.  And once it came out of the oven, you’d better believe that friends and roommates appeared out of nowhere to come help with the leftovers.  :)

Fast forward a decade later, and I’m still making old-school pasta bakes, but I’ve learned a few things since.  I can’t remember the last time I needed to look at the instructions for how long to cook a bag of pasta, but I do look nowadays at the labels to see if there are clean ingredients inside.  I’m also not anxious about trying to replicate the exact recipe, and instead feel confident tossing in whatever extra ingredients I might have on hand.  I also now know the value of generously salting your pasta water, and the wonder of adding in some fresh basil.  But a decade later, the motivation behind cooking remains the same — I love to make food and share it with people I love.  Even if it’s super simple, and perhaps no longer quite what I would consider “fancy”.  Good food is good food, and it is meant to be shared.

So today I’m sharing with you a modern recipe mashup I made for some friends.  It’s all of the goodness of chicken parmesan, turned into a baked ziti dish.  I call it…(prepare yourself for the brilliance of the name)…

…Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti.

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti -- all you need are 6 simple ingredients for this comforting and delicious dish! | gimmesomeoven.com

The inspiration for this actually came from everyone’s reaction to this Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti recipe that I posted last month.   Oh my goodness, you guys, this recipe skyrocked to the top of this blog’s statistics and has stayed there ever since.  I forgot how much the world loves baked ziti!

In my mind, this will always be called a simple college-style “pasta bake”.  But when you use ziti, I guess the classic name is apropos.  ;)

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti -- all you need are 6 simple ingredients for this comforting and delicious dish! | gimmesomeoven.com

So for a slightly different twist on the classic, I thought it would be fun to use one of my favorite Pomodoro Fresco tomato sauces from DeLallo and make a “chicken parmesan”-inspired version of baked ziti.  Many of you know that I love to make homemade marinara sauce, but when I’m pressed for time, I always turn to this delicious line of sauces from DeLallo.  By contrast to many sauces at the grocery store, DeLallo’s sauces are made from whole, all-natural ingredients.  And they actually tastes fresh and goodnot processed and overly sweetened.  Just good.  On just about anything.  :)

I went with DeLallo’s Pomodoro Fresco Tomato Basil Sauce for this recipe, but any of their pasta sauces would be great (especially my other favorite, the Spicy Arrabiatta Sauce).

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti 4

To make the baked ziti, I cooked up a batch of penne ziti and then tossed it with the sauce.  Then for the “chicken parmesan” twist, I added in some shredded cooked chicken, chopped fresh basil, and lots of grated Parmesan.

I know that traditional chicken parmesan requires you to bread and pan-fry the chicken.  But I thought the dish already had plenty of flavor and texture without adding the extra fat/calories.  And hey, true to the name, we’re including lots of chicken and lots of Parmesan.  So I’m sticking with it.

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti 6

True to college dorm-room form, I did still add in quite a bit of mozzarella cheese, which makes everything ooey and gooey and wonderful.

So basically, you layer it all up and then pop your dish in the oven…

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti -- all you need are 6 simple ingredients for this comforting and delicious dish! | gimmesomeoven.com

…and 20 minutes later, this deliciously cheesy dish is ready to go.  Just top it with some extra Parmesan and fresh basil, and serve!

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti -- all you need are 6 simple ingredients for this comforting and delicious dish! | gimmesomeoven.com

It definitely feels wild that a decade has passed and I have somehow learned my way confidently around a kitchen in the time since.  And — yes — now am even a full-time food blogger.  (That job wasn’t even invented when I was back in college!)  But I love that dishes like these are still a part of my life, and are just as comforting today as they were ten years ago.  Because I definitely hope to still be making this one tens years form now, and ten years after that, and after that….

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti -- all you need are 6 simple ingredients for this comforting and delicious dish! | gimmesomeoven.com

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Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

This Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti only requires 6 ingredients and is totally delicious and comforting.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces DeLallo penne ziti (or any pasta shape)
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)
  • 1 (25 ounce) jar DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco Tomato-Basil Sauce (pasta sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2% low fat)
  • 1/3 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of generously-salted boiling according to package instructions. Drain. Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and tomato sauce. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.
  3. Pour half of the pasta into a greased 11×7-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, half of the Parmesan cheese and half of the basil. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and sprinkle immediately with the remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve warm.
All images and text ©

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with DeLallo.  All opinions are my own as always.  I do genuinely adore this brand and the family and team behind it, and use their food in my home constantly.  Many thanks for supporting brands like them that help make this site possible.

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti -- all you need are 6 simple ingredients for this comforting and delicious dish! | gimmesomeoven.com

For another delicious meal idea using DeLallo’s Pomodoro Fresco sauces, check out my friend Maria’s Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini over at Two Peas and Their Pod.  And if you’d like to try a creamier version of this pasta, check out this delicious Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti (pictured below).

Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti | gimmesomeoven.com #italian #recipe

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160 comments on “Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti”

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  1. An easy weeknight dinner for the win!! Whenever I make a dish like this, my husband acts like I am the best cook in the world. He has no idea how easy it is. :) I love your chicken parm twist!

  2. Looks like we both have cheesy pasta on our minds today! Love this Parmesan baked ziti! Such a wonderful comfort food! Pinned!

  3. Baked ziti is one of my favorite things — I just love the chicken parm twist!

  4. Ali! This pasta looks ah-may-zing! Chicken parm and pasta all baked into one dish that looks easy AND like my husband will eat it? I’m going to marry it. Pinned!

  5. PERFECT timing! Chicago marathon is closing in, and I need a stock of carb filled recipes to get me through! We all know what everyones favorite carb is ;) This sounds wonderful, and I love that Delallo is made from wholesome ingredients. I like to make my own too, rather than smothering it in the corn syrupy mixtures that most jars have become. If I am going to destroy my 2:49, I need to start stocking on carbs very soon, and this would be a wonderful place to start!

  6. Gorgeous! And such a classic dish!

  7. Our favorite weeknight dinner!

  8. Can we make this when I’m back in KC for Chopped?!!! Love the cheese!!!

  9. Sometimes simple nostalgic meals like this are totally the best! Such a great weeknight go-to!

  10. This looks heavenly! Can’t wait to make this! :)

  11. Pasta bakes definitely have a special place in my home and in my heart – they’re comforting and easy … and gooey cheese gets me every.single.time.

    Great recipe :)

  12. I think you forgot to mention the part where you and your college roommates threw the pasta on the ceiling to see if it was done!

    • LOLOLOLOL!!! That is hilarious!! Too funny. Love that. I can just picture it! Although, I must say, my oldest daughter leaves Sunday for the dorms at UC Irvine, Califirnia (freshman….ahhhhh!) and my mental picture of that happening in her dorm room makes me quiver!!!! Ahhh! I can only imagine!! Hee! Hee!

  13. Yay for easy pasta dishes! I know my boys will love this one!

  14. Mmm now this looks great. Seeing as we left the freezer door open yesterday during work and we came home to a freezer full of melted or thawed foods – I’m looking for a few freezer friendly casserole bakes to make tonight! I need to use up all of that meat!

    xo Rachel

  15. What temp is the oven?

  16. Love the recipe. What is the oven temperature for baking? Thanks!

  17. Hi Ali! What oven temperature did you use to make this dish? This looks delicious. Perfect for the cooler temperatures that lie ahead. I love the addition of the shredded chicken. Nice! And De Lallo’s products are such high quality. I love them all and use them, too, quite often in my kitchen.

  18. A big plate of this for dinner tonight sounds perfect!

  19. This looks so comforting and perfect for a quick dinner! I can always good for a cheesey pasta dinner!

  20. That looks delicious.

  21. Gosh your college basic food certainly topped mine. Now this recipe is solid comfort and grandkid food in my world.

  22. Omg, looks delicious, yam! :)

  23. This looks so amazing. I’m going to have to give it a try!

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  25. I am drooling over this recipe.. No sides needed with this dish. I love that you can make it with leftover chicken definitely a Sunday Night Supper meal! Thanks for sharing

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  27. I came on here looking for something new to try and I’m definitely glad I saw this. I will be cooking this for my little fam tonight. Thanks!!!!

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  35. We made this last night and it was SO AWESOME. Couldn’t have been easier but still loaded with flavor. Added extra chicken and basil. Thank you!! 

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  37. This looks great and such an easy recipe to do as a college student I will have to try it at some point. 

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  39. I work as a personal assistant for a family and they are going to LOVE this!

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  44. Delicious recipe! I would recommend cooking the chicken in Coconut Oil before adding it with the rest.  I also added grape tomatoes and spinach which topped the meal off completely. Would definitely recommend this recipe to others. 

  45. what is the best way to reheat this?

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  47. Made it today,exactly as prescribed and turned out good,my 7 year old gave me a thumbs up and he usually does not like my Indian dishes but he ate this to the last bite.Oh! i did add peas so i would say this was easy peasy!

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