Whenever I write up a recipe for my blog, I always have trouble coming up with a descriptive, mouth-watering title that isn’t too lengthy.
The alternative title for this casserole: Zucchini + Chicken + Sun Dried Tomatoes + Ricotta Pasta Casserole. Wow, that’s a mouthful.
The name I chose seemed fitting given that I pre-marinated the chicken in Tuscan Italian Dressing, which contains balsamic vinegar and sun dried tomatoes.
According to one site I found, “Tuscan cuisine is appreciated in the world for its fine natural and flavorful ingredients. It’s a typical expression of the Mediterranean diet, considered among others, the most wholesome and tasty, olive oil, pasta, fish and…meat.”
tuscan zucchini pasta casserole
1. One day ahead of time, marinate fresh or frozen chicken breast tenderloins (keep in fridge overnight) in Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian Dressing and a dash of olive oil.
2. Thinly slice zucchini using a knife or mandoline. I used long thin strips. Place on tin foil on top of a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and bake at 350 until soft (about 10 minutes). Halfway through, toss chopped onions on top.
3. Bake chicken pieces at 350 until cooked throughout (about 15 minutes). There should be no pink visible. When cooled, chop into small pieces.
3. Prepare noodles according to package. I used egg noodles, my favorite!
4. Layer cooked noodles, chopped chicken, zucchini slices, and onion in a casserole dish (any kind of deep baking dish will work though). Spread ricotta on top; sprinkle with chopped pieces of sun dried tomato. Lastly, scatter parmesan cheese over top and cover with tin foil (you can re-use the tin foil from the zucchini!). Bake at 350 until heated throughout- about 15 minutes.
It sounds labor intensive, but I promise it’s not. And it’s delicious when reheated, so make extra for dinner or leftovers. Also, letting it sit before baking actually allows all the flavors to mix and mingle, creating a more rich flavor.