If you saw my appliances in the new house, you would cry.
I can handle ugly. I can handle outdated. But honestly, I’ve never seen a kitchen like this before in my life. We’ve reached a whole new level of vintage, it’s called ancient. There was actually a moment in time where I contemplated contacting the manufacturer, hoping that perhaps they would send me something new and shiny out of sympathy. But that idea came and went. I just know, that the minute I go to cook something it’s going to be a complete disaster. My oven door is held up by a hook, OK?! Maybe I will show you a pic (I’m still in denial).
Since we have a couple days before moving in, I decided to prep a bunch of meals to take over. This is one of them. The idea is to just reheat and serve, hassle free. If my prediction comes true and our stove bursts into flames, at least I was prepared! Better to be well fed than stuck with greasy takeout.
So here it is, a twist on this original recipe morphed into a wholesome pasta bake. It’s packed with Mediterranean flavors that are nutrient dense and satisfying. I’ve made a couple of tweaks along the way, but you’ll recognize the key players including chicken, artichokes, white beans, and fresh herbs. This might look like a total food-coma meal, but the combination of ingredients gives you the energy you need to tackle all kinds of projects. And you won’t need a nap afterwards…
Now, this is what I want to eat after painting a house!
- I use organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe because they stay moist when baked. You can substitute with chicken breast as well (just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook).
- You will need a large, ovenproof casserole dish. Mine was a 9-inch, 2 quart, oval shaped dish. Everything fit perfectly.
- I like to buy marinated artichokes hearts from my Italian deli. You can also find them in most grocery stores.
- 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces*
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2–3 tbsp. marinade from artichoke hearts
- 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves stripped
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- 1 lb. whole wheat fusili pasta
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, whole
- 1/2 c. marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 c. white beans, rinsed + drained (I use northern white beans)
- ½ c. Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1/3 c. parsley and basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 2–3 handfuls of part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
- salt + pepper
- parsley + basil leaves
*You can substitute with chicken breast (just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook).
- For the chicken marinade, drain the artichoke hearts reserving the juice. To a large bowl, add the chicken, artichoke juice, garlic, and oregano leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and mix well to coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour, maximum 3 hours.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 425 F.
- To a casserole dish, add the sliced onions and tomatoes. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and the tomatoes begin to burst, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet warm 1 tsp. of olive oil over moderate heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides. It will be slightly undercooked.
- Remove the casserole dish from the oven. Add the cooked pasta, chicken, artichoke hearts, beans, olives, and chopped herbs. Stir to combine.
- Top with grated cheese and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbling. If you like it really brown, pop it under the broiler for a minute.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh herbs right before serving.