This is another dish that could easily go from a side dish to a main course by adding a little protein. If you are looking for an easy one-dish meal I would recommend using some chopped up chicken to add in with the pasta. I usually serve this pasta as a side dish to compliment the beer butt chicken I told you about yesterday. The pasta has nice, subtle flavors that don't overpower your taste buds. For all the mom's out there it is also a kid friendly meal. The use of breadcrumbs provides a crunchy texture, while the tomatoes add a nice balance without being too saucy.
Italian Baked PastinaPrinter Friendly Version
1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (if using)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. If using chicken, add to the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic. stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken mixture is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Source: www.foodnetwork.com, Giada de Laurentis