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.
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.


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.