This Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake is one of the go-to dishes I make for my daughter and me for girls night. Rich and flavorful, this dish is totally satisfying. I prepare my chicken cutlets in the oven and use panko-style breadcrumbs to add texture and crunch to the baked cutlets.
First, I start with a package of thin-sliced boneless, skinless, chicken breasts and trim off any excess fat. I think sliced chicken is perfect for this dish without the need for pounding out the meat into cutlets. If you start with whole chicken breasts, slice them in half lengthwise to create two full-sized cutlets.
Then, I start my dredge. My dredge station works from right to left. At the very far left after the panko is my prepared baking sheet – this way I am working my way to the final destination and not dropping panko or anything all over the counters and floor. It’s girls’ night. Who wants to spend extra time cleaning the kitchen? Blek!
Season the flour and egg wash stations with salt and pepper, I also add garlic powder for some added flavor. This helps layer the flavors onto your chicken. The flour is important here even though we are using panko as the final coating because it gives the egg something to stick to on the chicken – otherwise, it doesn’t cling as well. Into my panko, I added 1 tbsp dried Italian spice blend and a good shaving of Parmesan cheese.
Each chicken cutlet is then placed on a baking sheet that has been coated with a fine coating of non-stick cooking spray. I later spray a little oil onto the tops of the cutlets as well. I use an aerosol can which I can pump air into. This allows the crumbs to really turn a nice golden brown without needing to tend to them while they fry in a skillet.
While the chicken bakes, I boil the pasta and toss it with some marinara sauce. After I toss the pasta into some sauce, I layer it into the bottom of a casserole dish and then add the baked chicken cutlets on top. Next, I smother the cutlets with more sauce and two kinds of cheese, and some fresh basil. Bow, it’s ready for the oven to melt the cheese. At this point, I can either bake it off immediately and melt the cheese and be ready to eat in just about 8-10 minutes, or I can set it aside and bake it off later for dinner. Setting it aside to bake later will add just a few minutes to the bake time just to ensure everything is heated through.
Finally! It’s ready to serve. Yummy! Melty gooey mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses are our favorite indulgence. I add some extra sauce at the table – my daughter likes her pasta more-saucy while I eat mine a little less so.
So focused on digging into our Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake, we forgot to add the extra parmesan cheese and sprinkles of fresh basil. Still tasted delicious, though!
Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake
- 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and sliced in half lengthwise to make 4 cutlets
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning blend (optional)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 3 cups (24-oz jar) marinara sauce; divided
- 2 cups dry pasta, any type (about 1/2 a box)
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- fresh basil, chopped
- cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 450°. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the pot of water boils, cook the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked to the desired tenderness, drain pasta and toss with 2-1/2 cups sauce (reserving 1/2 cup to sauce the chicken). Pour pasta into a baking dish and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese in a dish large enough to dredge the chicken slices.
- In a second bowl, beat together the egg and water. Add salt and pepper to season the egg wash.
- In a third dish add flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.
- First, dip the chicken cutlet into the flour and coat both sides. Gently pat or shake to remove excess flour. Then dip the cutlet into the egg wash, again coating both sides. Lastly, dip the cutlet into the panko breadcrumb mixture and coat both sides.
- Place the cutlet onto the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken cutlets.
- Lightly spray a little more oil on top of each cutlet (promotes browning) and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven. Place chicken cutlets on top of the pasta in the baking dish and spoon 2 tbsp sauce over each piece of chicken and top each with chopped fresh basil (optional), shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
- Bake 5-10 more minutes or until cheese is hot, bubbly and melted.
- Serve top. We shave a little more fresh parmesan over the top with a little more fresh basil.
Do you have a favorite pasta bake?