Busy weeknight fare need not be boring. This week, I’m taking simple ingredients and turning them into a quick Chicken Panzanella Casserole.
Panzanella is a frugal Italian salad made with stale bread and fresh tomatoes. My variation is a hearty entree that uses croutons in place of the stale bread.
Chunky tomato-basil pasta sauce brings the casserole together, along with shredded cheese.
CHICKEN PANZANELLA CASSEROLE
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic, about 1 large clove
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups chunky tomato-basil pasta sauce
1 5- to 6-ounce package garlic croutons
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and chicken, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is almost completely cooked.
Stir in the marinara sauce, croutons, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Spread into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.