6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
salt and black pepper
1/2 pound penne rigate or macaroni noodles or spirals or whatever you like
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or thighs (about 8 ounces each), halved horizontally (I used some leftover cooked chicken)
Diced fresh or frozen spinach (optional)
2 cups milk
2 Tbs. butter
¼ C cornstarch
1 Tbs chicken bullion (I use “Better Than Bouillon”)
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely minced (or 1 tsp Garlic powder)
1/2 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 cup shredded provolone (6 ounces) (or an Italian blend or mozzarella)
½ cup grated Parmesan (fresh is delicious but dried works as well)
1-Preheat oven to 400.
2-Butter 1 shallow 2-quart baking dish (I use a glass 9×13 pan.)
3-In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente (see instructions on the box); drain pasta and set aside.
4-While pasta is boiling, get another pot of water and add 1 T “Better Than Bouillon”, dash of salt and pepper and 1 or 2 chicken breasts (or thighs) to it and turn to high & let it boil until the chicken is no longer pink. Drain and cut the chicken into bite size pieces. (I usually do several breasts/thighs at once and save the extra in the freezer in a zip loc freezer bag and then you can skip this step and just pull out a bag, defrost it in the microwave while you’re boiling the noodles and use it.)
5-Combine milk, butter, corn starch, Better Than Bouillon, salt and pepper in a sauce pan and turn to medium heat while whisking. Add the sun dried tomatoes, spinach and chicken; cook 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
6-Add sauce to the pasta; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into your baking dish. Sprinkle extra Parmesan on top.
7-Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
*To freeze, prepare through step 4 and then let pasta cool. Cover pan well with plastic wrap. Place extra cheese in baggie (for topping) on top and then cover entire pan well with foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, preheat oven to 400. Remove foil and plastic from pan and set cheese baggie aside. Place foil back on pan and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil, stir pasta, and top with cheese. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly throughout.