This chicken parm baked ziti recipe came about by accident. I had a friend coming over to watch the Bachelor, and I needed to whip up a quick dinner. I had some leftover shredded chicken in the refrigerator, marinara, and a lot of cheese. The rest was history!
Everything that you love about chicken parmesan, in a baked pasta dish!
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast
- salt and pepper
- 8 c marinara *
- 1 lb short cut pasta like ziti, penne, or rigatoni
- 1 15 oz containter ricotta
- 1 c shredded mozzarella plus more for sprinkling
- 1/8 c grated parmesan
- torn basil leaves for garnish
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Pour marinara in a pot and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the pot, shred, and mix back into the marinara.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package instructions. You want it to be extra al dente, because the pasta is going to continue to cook in the sauce while it bakes.
Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining and add it to the pot with the marinara. Place the drained pasta, reserved pasta water, marinara, shredded chicken, ricotta, and mozzarella in a large bowl. Mix until well incorporated, and taste for seasoning. Be careful not to oversalt- the sauce is going to reduce a little bit when it bakes.
Transfer pasta mixture to a greased 11 x 17 or 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and bubbling.
Remove from oven and top with torn basil.
*If you don’t have time to make your own marinara, my favorite jarred sauce is Barilla.