Creamy Penne Pasta Casserole

Fall is finally here in Wisconsin. Cool, dark mornings, and perfect afternoons lead into a cooler evening, and well to me, that means it is soup, stew, and casserole season. My favorite time of the year, hands down. I think I would trade fall for summer any time, and I do not joke when I say that. But lets get back to that comfort food I just mentioned. I love fall because of comfort food. Heck, it is pretty much what this whole site is about; comforting food, and nothing beats comforting food after a long day of work on a cool night. It’s a winner, hands down.

Creamy Penne Pasta Casserole Recipe

It wasn’t too long ago when I arrived home from work to find a large package on my doorstep. As I thought to myself, what in the heck did I just recently order, I walked over to the package and read the shipping information. It was from Nueske’s! Now you should know by now, I love Nueske’s products, and for those folks that have tried their products, I know they love them as well. I took the package inside to find a lovely array of smoked meats including their smoked kielbasa. I knew right away what I was going to make with this kielbasa, and that was to use it in a awesome, creamy penne pasta casserole.

Lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of penne pasta, cooked slightly under al dente, drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small Anaheim peppers, seeded, and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 bunch of spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups of Kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 whole chicken breasts, poached, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz half and half
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese

Begin by having all of your ingredients prepared and cooked ahead of time. That means your chicken and your pasta. The other ingredients should be prepared as well. You can prepare all of your vegetables and dicing while the pasta and chicken are cooking.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a skillet to medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil, then toss in the peppers, onions, spinach, and garlic. You only want to cook for a few minutes to sweat the onions and garlic, and slightly wilt the spinach. After a few minutes, remove the skillet from the stove.

To a sauce pan, add the butter, and let it completely melt. Medium heat is fine on this. Next, add in the flour, and incorporate this into the butter, mixing with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. It will begin to turn a nutty brown color. This is good. Slowly add in the half and half, then the milk. Raise the heat a bit, and continue stirring for about 5 minutes, if not longer, until the sauce begins to thicken.

Season the sauce with the salt, pepper, and Old Bay, and give a good stir. Add in the cheese. Stir, then remove the sauce pan from the heat.

Ingredients for making Penne Pasta Casserole Recipe

To a large mixing bowl, add in the pasta, chopped onion, spinach, garlic, chicken, kielbasa, and peppers. Give a good stir, then pour in the sauce. Continue to stir until all of your ingredients are nicely coated with the cheese sauce.

Pour this mixture into a large casserole dish and place in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

When you pull this dish out of the oven, it is a thing of delight. The spinach balances out the creaminess of the pasta, and then the smokey punch of the kielbasa along with the garlic and onion. My oh my, this one was delicious.  To plate, simply serve at the table and dig in. My wife and I were in heaven when we took our first bite.

This throw together pasta is another reason why I love fall (and Nueske’s!). With basic ingredients laying around the house, spinach from the farmer’s market, and the delivery of great smoked kielbasa from Nueske’s, dinner just got easy, and delicious. Not to mention the leftovers. This dish was just as good the following days ahead. I hope you enjoy!

What are some of your favorite fall recipes?

Creamy Penne Pasta Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole, Main
Cuisine: Comfort
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
An easy throw together meal that is truly comforting and great for leftovers.
Ingredients
  • ½ lb of penne pasta, cooked slightly under al dente, drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small Anaheim peppers, seeded, and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 bunch of spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups of Kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 whole chicken breasts, poached, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz half and half
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese
Instructions
  1. Begin by having all of your ingredients prepared and cooked ahead of time. That means your chicken and your pasta. The other ingredients should be prepared as well. You can prepare all of your vegetables and dicing while the pasta and chicken are cooking.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Bring a skillet to medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil, then toss in the peppers, onions, spinach, and garlic. You only want to cook for a few minutes to sweat the onions and garlic, and slightly wilt the spinach. After a few minutes, remove the skillet from the stove.
  4. To a sauce pan, add the butter, and let it completely melt. Medium heat is fine on this. Next, add in the flour, and incorporate this into the butter, mixing with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. It will begin to turn a nutty brown color. This is good. Slowly add in the half and half, then the milk. Raise the heat a bit, and continue stirring for about 5 minutes, if not longer, until the sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Season the sauce with the salt, pepper, and Old Bay, and give a good stir. Add in the cheese. Stir, then remove the sauce pan from the heat.
  6. To a large mixing bowl, add in the pasta, chopped onion, spinach, garlic, chicken, kielbasa, cheese, and peppers. Give a good stir, then pour in the sauce. Continue to stir until all of your ingredients are nicely coated with the cheese sauce.
  7. Pour this mixture into a large casserole dish and place in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

 

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

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