This pasta dish is so easy but by looking at it you’d expect it was so time consuming. You’d also expect this to be totally weighed down with cheese; it’s not! By adding a little bit of cream to the sauce you are adding some richness but by doing this you get away with not adding cheese to the actual pasta and sauce. The mushrooms and chicken add veggies and protein cutting down the amount of carbs you will be eating. Anytime you make pasta, add lean meat and veggies and it will minimize the actual pasta from the portion, helping maintain your svelte figure.
1 (454 g) Box whole wheat rigatoni
1 pack (300 g) frozen chopped spinach
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 Medium onion chopped
1 227 g package of Cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 Cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 Cup white wine
1 680 ml jar passata (strained tomatoes)
1 Cup sodium-reduced beef stock
2 tbsp half and half (10% cream)
1/2 Cup part skim mozzarella cheese, grated
Preheat your oven to 400 and place a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
When the water comes to a boil, season it with salt and then add the pasta and the frozen spinach to the water, cook the pasta 2 minutes less then the box directions (see notes). Meanwhile:
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When it’s hot (it will ripple) add the chicken slices, onion and mushrooms; season with salt and pepper.
Saute for about 5-7 minutes, until the chicken has started to brown (but isn’t completely cooked), the onions are soft and translucent and the mushrooms have started to give off their water.
With the heat still on medium high, add the garlic to the pan and sauté for about 30 seconds, careful not to let it burn.
Turn the heat on the pan to high and then add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any of the flavours that may be stuck here (if skipping the wine then add the ¼ cup stock here instead – see notes).
Add the jar of passata to the pan.
Pour the cup of stock into the empty passata jar and swish it around to rinse out any of the remaining tomato, pour this into the pan.
Season the sauce liberally with salt and pepper; mix well.
Bring the pan to a boil and then drop the heat to low, stir in the cream.
Strain the pasta and spinach when they’re cooked and add them to the frying pan; mix well and transfer the entire contents of the pan to a casserole (I didn’t find it necessary to grease mine).
Top the pasta evenly with the mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the top of the cheese is bubbling and slightly darkened and blistered; place under the broiler after the 40 minutes if needed
- If possible, use a fine mesh sieve to strain your pasta and spinach or if you only have a regular colander that’s fine, you’re just going to lose some of the spinach down the drain (which is fine, that happened to me but there was still a lot of spinach in the pot).
- If you don’t want to use wine then add 1 ¼ Cup of stock instead of just one cup.
- I couldn’t find whole wheat Rigatoni so I used one of the Smart Pasta brands instead.
- Any pasta will work here just cook it two minutes less then the directions state so your pasta doesn’t end up mushy (also why you add extra stock to the pan!).
- Use any stock of your choosing, I prefer the flavour of beef even when I’m cooking with chicken.
- Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet before you put it in the oven, your oven will thank you!