As fall crept its way into my house last night, summer kept it’s arm around my shoulder and whispered, “It’s all gonna be alright….I’ll be back soon. It’s 85 degrees outside … I’m here for a little while. Don’t cry. It will all be fine.”
But, as I turned on my oven to make one of my favorite one dish wonders, I realized in order for summer to come back to me, my true love, I would have to part with lost leaves, short, dark days, frozen pipes, the after school routine, and grilling. We have returned to the ugliness of pre winter and the renaissance of the creative casserole, cooking dinner before 11 a.m., and making my menu for the following week on a Thursday.
So, let me introduce to you, to one of my favorite, therapeutic, comfort foods … pastina. Isn’t that everyone’s favorite comfort food, or do you have to be Italian? Giada’s Baked Pastina Casserole is a cure all for the autumn blues.
This covers four hungry apple pickers. Adjust the recipe for your clan.
You will need:
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pastina until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. (Even if there is still a “bite” to the stars, pasta cooks even after you drain it).
While you are waiting for the pasta to cook, sauté the chicken breast with the olive oil, and after a few minutes, add the onion and garlic, cooking until onion is soft, and chicken is cooked.
Dump everything: the pasta, chicken mixture, diced tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley, salt and pepper into a large bowl and combine.
Butter an approximately 8x8x2 baking dish with butter or spray, and spread your pasta mixture in the dish.
In a small dish, combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle on top. This can remain at room temperature until you are ready to bake it.
When you are ready to bake, cut up some of the butter and dot on top of the casserole.
Bake at 400 until golden brown, probably about 30 min.
HIP MOM HINTS:
1.I use prepared chicken breast like Perdue Short Cuts so nothing has to cook through. It’s much faster and I still sautee’ the meat with the other ingredients to get the flavors to mesh.
2. If your budget allows, try purchasing items like, onions that are already chopped or peeled. What a time and an eye-saver! I would make a terrible sous chef because I hate all the prep. Sometimes I get chopped celery, carrots, etc, depending on what I’m making. Many grocery stores have already cut up stuff just for this purpose.
I cried as I took my first spoonful, but my kids were happy, and in the end, that’s all that counts, right??? Questionable.