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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Blackened Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake

Baked Grilled Chicken Caesar Pasta.jpg

In my twenties, going out to dinner with the girls was so much fun. Having a cocktail and always ordering a Caesar salad with blackened chicken. I can remember the first time I had a Chicken Caesar Salad like it was yesterday. You know, that cold crisp romaine lettuce topped with the warm grilled chicken and drizzled with that wonderful creamy Caesar dressing. Oh, and the cheese, that cheese, so good!

Now the chicken that you’re able to order comes one of two ways, grilled, or grilled and blackened. I always choose the blackened, I love the spiciness of the chicken alongside the cool creamy Caesar dressing.

What a great idea! Take the flavors of the creamy Caesar dressing and make that into a sauce, then add pasta, blackened chicken, breadcrumb topping, and bake. I’ll call it my Blackened Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake!

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: indoor grill pan, large mixing bowl, 12-inch sautépan, 4-quart saucepot,
1-quart saucepot, colander, 9 x 13 baking dish

Ingredients For Chicken:
6 chicken cutlets
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons blackened seasoning
1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Ingredients For Blackened Seasoning:
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Ingredients For Blackened Seasoning:
Combine all the spices together in a bowl until evenly mixed. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark dry place.

Ingredients For Topping:
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

Ingredients For The Caesar Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
3 heaping tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 cups of whole milk or half-and-half, heated
1 cup unsalted chicken broth, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 to 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 pound penne pasta

Directions:
1). Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish
2). Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
3). Preheat grill pan on medium-high heat (both front and back burner)

In a large mixing bowl add the chicken cutlet, olive oil, and blackened seasoning. Using clean hands, mix together until all the chicken is evenly coated with oil and spices.

Place the chicken cutlets onto the grill. Cook 4 minutes on the first side, 3 minutes on the flip side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Let cool, then slice on the bias.

Next, in a large sautépan on medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the Panko breadcrumbs to the pan, stir until they’re completely coated with the melted butter. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until a very light golden brown. Remove from the heat. Add the dried parsley, stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the pasta. Cook pasta until slightly undercooked by 1 to 2 minutes. Remember, pasta will continue to cook during the baking process. Drain the pasta. Let the pasta stay in the colander while you make the sauce.

In a 1-quart saucepot on medium, heat the milk just under the boiling point.

In a 4-quart saucepot on medium heat add the butter, Once butter melts add the anchovy paste and minced garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk the in the chicken stock, then the heated milk and Worcestershire sauce continually whisking until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, stir to combine.

In a large mixing bowl add the penne pasta. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the sauce to the bowl and mix with penne, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce. Next, gently fold in the sliced blackened grilled chicken until combined.

Transfer the mixture to a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Using a spatula smooth the mixture evenly throughout the dish. Top with breadcrumb topping. Spray non-stick cooking spray on the dull side of the foil. This will prevent the topping from sticking to the foil. Cover and bake for 35 to 40 minutes then uncover and continue baking until the top is golden brown.

Make sure to let rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting. This will give the dish time to set.

I like to serve my Blackened Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake with a Romaine salad dressed with a drizzle of *E.V.O.O., fresh lemon juice, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. There you have it, the best of both worlds in one dish!

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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