Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

I love me some pasta. Look no further than here for evidence of that.

This baked penne dish is among good company…and it can definitely hold its own. Tender pasta is smothered in a smoky mozzarella cream sauce and littered with delicious chunks of chicken, vibrant broccoli and tart sun-dried tomatoes. Topped with buttery bread crumbs and baked to bubbly goodness, this pasta casserole is uh-mazing. Perfect take-in meal for that friend or sister or neighbor who just moved, had a baby, needs an extra hand of help – or better yet, why don’t you give this recipe to a friend or sister or neighbor and tell them you really need it made for you asap. Yeah, I like that idea.

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

What To Serve
Divine Breadsticks
Fresh fruit
Autumn Pear Salad

One Year Ago: Chicken Spiedie Sandwiches
Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter Crunch Snack Balls
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Scotcharoos

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

Yield: Serves 6-8

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

Note: See the asterisk below the recipe for make-ahead directions. Also, I’ve received several questions about the smoked mozz and where to find it. In my well-stocked grocery store it is by the mozzarella cheese – but then again, I am in Wisconsin, land of the cheese – I have also found it in the specialty cheese section (by the brie, feta, etc.).


  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (store-bought or make your own)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 1 bunch broccoli (about 1 ½ pounds), stalks cut off, florets trimmed into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 ounces smoked mozzarella, shredded
  • 8 ounce jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces


  1. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in one tablespoon salt and the broccoli. The broccoli cooks quickly so stay close! Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven while baking). Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave it in the colander and set it aside.
  3. Wipe the pot dry. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the flour, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella.
  4. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.


*The casserole can be prepared in advance with the following steps: after the broccoli is removed from the boiling water, plunge it into a bowl of ice water and cool completely. Assemble the casserole following the directions in the recipe. After the casserole is spread in the prepared baking pan, let it cool for 5-10 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating for up to 8 hours. To bake, preheat the oven to 375 and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cover and Bake

153 Responses to Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

  1. Nicole says:

    I love this recipe. It’s the only thing that my entire family will sit at the table and eat together. Though I made a change. Instead of the bread crumbs I cover it with mozzarella cheese instead. Comes out perfectly crisp

  2. Laura says:

    Hey Mel,
    I found your blog last year when I was looking did something different to serve for a party and stumbled on to this recipe. A week or so later you posted your pumpkin chocolate chip cookies recipe and I was sold! Those two recipes have since become what I’m “known for” as a cook. Since then, I’ve almost stopped using any of my old cookbooks and just check out your blog. Thank you so much for sharing!


  3. London says:

    Made this wonderfully tasty dish tonight for a friend who was moving, and it was soooo good!! I used a rotisserie chicken and just added it along with the last few steps and used regular mozerella as it was all I had, but will for sure try the smoked next time, it turned out great, my husband said it tasted like it was from a restaurant! Thank you so much for this recipe Mel, I just love your blog and have always had success with your recipes, so nice you have a section just for take-in meals!

  4. Barbara Edwards says:

    Hey Mel! I’ve made this before and we all love it but I think I’ve always used cooked chicken before. Just want to verify that you put the raw chicken in the sauce at the end and it cooks in there? Thanks a bunch!

  5. Rachel M says:

    This was the most AMAZING dish! I’m 28 and literally just BARELY started to be interested in cooking. (I never thought in a million years I would ever want to learn!) But a few friends as well as my sister referred me to your site. I was nervous at first! This was my first “hard” recipe! (My whole family jokes that I can’t boil water) But I followed this recipe to a T and I completely shocked myself! My boyfriend was stunned that I randomly cooked something so amazing! You’ve totally inspired me to start cooking and not be afraid of trying new things (besides frozen store bought meals hehe) so thank you for sharing your talent! This dish is DIVINE!

  6. Karen says:

    My husband has meniere’s disease so I have been searching for low sodium receipes. This was pretty tasty and the receipe produced enough for another meal.

  7. Anna says:

    We love this dish! Made it many,many times. Delish !

  8. Kristen Berry says:

    Would it be OK to use a rotissere chicken?

    • Mel says:

      Sure, you’ll just need to experiment where to throw in the chicken in the recipe since the recipe calls for uncooked chicken (I wouldn’t cook the rotisserie chicken the same amount of time).

  9. Tara says:

    Mel – this was amazing and the second recipe in a row from your arsenal that was a family hit!!! I substituted smoke cheddar with parm – worked great. I love to eat, and I love to follow recipes exactly and yours are so easy, with pictures to help us visual learners. Thank you thank you for all your hard work all these years to prepare these amazing and easy recipes for us to follow!

  10. The whole family loved this, it was a big hit. Great meal to bring over to someone’s house to help them out, it makes tons.

  11. Kristen says:

    Fantastic recipe! My family loved it and I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for a couple of days! I ended up using smoked gouda since I couldn’t find smoked mozzarella and it worked great and tasted amazing. Thanks, Mel, for another great recipe.

  12. Meghan says:

    I brought this over to a lady I VT… she said they loved it. Thanks

  13. Melissa says:

    I made this into a vegetarian meal…followed instructions just the same while omitting the chicken and it tasted great! I couldn’t find any smoked mozzarella in our grocery store so I opted for white sharp cheddar, used half and half cream and added some hot pepper flakes for some heat…..loved having a meatless main dish with so much flavor! Thank you!

  14. Keyontae says:

    Could I use lobster, shrimp or crab instead of chicken? I’m definitely trying this recipe for this week’s dinner

  15. Sarah says:

    I made this last night and we loved it! My substitutions were: whole wheat pasta, half n half, and smoked provolone as I couldn’t find smoked mozzarella. My husband took 3 helpings! Such a delicious recipe and now I’m excited for leftovers for lunch 🙂

  16. Emily says:

    I tried this last night and it was fantastic! Because my husband and I don’t get home from work until 6:00 each night, I decided to start the recipe the night before by doing Step #3 and storing it in the fridge overnight. When I got home from work last night, I warmed up the sauce, steamed the broccoli, cooked the pasta and threw it all in the baking dish. The pasta wasn’t soggy and the whole thing was baked and ready to eat by 6:30.

  17. Stephanie says:

    This meal is delicious! My husband and I made it a few days ago and had it for leftovers last night. Mel, I discovered your website about a year ago, and I have found so many that have gone into my regular meal rotation. Thank you!

  18. Meredith says:

    Have made this on numerous occasions, often I double this and give away to friends who just had a baby. It’s always a hit. I love it all!

  19. Sarah says:

    Melissa, I don’t know about Mel, but I freeze this all the time. I make it ahead but don’t bake it. I also don’t put the topping on. I do prepare the topping and tape it in a baggie to the container with the rest in it, but I find freezing it already on the casserole makes it soggy. When I’m ready to use it, I thaw it in the fridge, sprinkle on the topping, and bake. I do have to add 10 minutes or so usually since I’m starting from the refrigerator instead of room temperature/warm, but otherwise, it works wonderfully!

  20. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel

    To freeze this receipe do I just follow the make ahead steps?


  21. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel

    Love your website. I would like to know if you can freeze this baked penne with chicken and broccoli. Do I j

  22. rebecca says:

    i am a vegetarian & have made this many times by omitting the chicken & using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. it’s absolutely delicious, and not using chicken cuts down a lot on the prep time too. very filling, inexpensive, and is excellent re-heated!

  23. ashley says:

    Made this today. It is AMAZING! Yum!!! Thank you Mel! I love the smoked mozzarella in this (even went across town to a different grocery store to find it – well worth it!). Also, thank you for the suggestion about adding a can of drained dice tomatoes if leaving out the sundried tomatoes. I left out the tomatoes this time because I didn’t have any on-hand, and I wish I hadn’t.

  24. EmilyF says:

    It’s only a year after your last comments on this, but I had to say I made it last night for a new mom (found it through the post on new mom take-ins) and it was DELISH! One of my favorites of yours, and I’ve made a bunch. I couldn’t find smoked mozzarella, so subbed fresh; it may have been even yummier with the smoked, but I thought the flavor was still amazing. It’s a keeper!!! I can’t wait for lunch today … leftovers!

  25. […] Pasta day!  Chicken, broccoli and smoked mozzarella pasta.  This is so tasty.  Chicken was $1.69/lb at Randalls ($3.38), broccoli was $1 at HEB, pasta was […]

  26. […] fries.  Cost:  Under $5. Thursday: New Recipe Day! Chicken and broccoli pasta, from here again.  Doubling the recipe fed everyone once, but I’ll probably cook another pound of […]

  27. […] Plan Monday! Monday:  Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Smoked Mozzerella This.looks.delicious.  I’ll be using the free pasta from Target, cheap chicken from […]

  28. Mary says:

    Ohhhhh my goshhhh! Just found this receipe a couple of days ago, and made it tonight for dinner!!!! It was FABULOUS!!!!! The sun dried tomatoes really made the dish stand out; and I just sub’d Silk Cream and reg mozz. FANTASTIC! Thank you so very much for a delicious and wonderful dinner!!!!

  29. Lindsay says:

    I made this and it is my new FAVORITE! It is SO darn good! Even my little 3 year old said “this is the best thing I ever had!” Thank you for sharing!!

  30. ERIKA H. says:

    i made this last night, fantastic! i used regular mozz just because i figured my kids and husband would prefer it, total yum!

  31. jenny says:

    what if i can’t find sun dried tomatoes????????

  32. […] I made this scrummy (scrumptious + yummy) pasta dish on Friday night.  I found the original recipe here but I added a few of my own twists.  Hubby loved it, I loved it and we had heaps for leftovers […]

  33. AnnCP says:

    Made this the other night – even with smoked mozzarella (had to search for it!). It was tasty, but a little dry – it needed more sauce. So – will use less pasta next time. And as others said, it is a great dish to help feed a crowd.

  34. Angela says:

    This was downright delicious! It made a ton, but my husband had tasty lunches for a couple of days, and he froze some too. Will probably half it next time, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks!

  35. b says:

    This looks so delicious especially because theres smoked mozzerella in it

  36. […] get much else done.  Other than getting laundry finished, my biggest feat today was fixing one of our favorite pasta dishes.  We don’t fix it often because it takes so much time and creates so many dirty dishes, but it […]

  37. Pat says:

    I made this dish today, and it was delicious, but I agree with others who commented on the amount of preparation time involved. It took me 1 1/2 hours before baking time, and that is considerably more time than I usually spend. Everyone loved it, though, so I need to come up with some shortcuts. Anyone have any ideas?

  38. Lisa says:

    Delish! I used smoked Gouda only because no store I went to had smoke mozzarella. Also used milk instead of cream. Really enjoyed!

  39. […] Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella […]

  40. Nic says:

    I just made this and the family loved it. Will definitely become a regular on our menu. thanks!

  41. Fearlessgal says:

    I found you via Pinterest, made it for dinner tonight and I am in LOVE with this dish! I did make a couple of modifications because I am on Weight Watchers to try and make it a little more Points+ friendly. I still need to add it into my recipe builder to find out the points for sure.

    Omit Butter
    Omit Breadcrumbs
    Use Whole Wheat Penne
    Used Fat Free Chicken Broth
    Used 1% Milk instead of Heavy Cream
    Added chopped mushrooms
    Added some Red Pepper Flakes
    Even using 1% Milk instead of Heavy Cream it was still very good…I’m sure it lacks a little of the original richness, but it makes it a little less guilty.

    I cannot wait to make this again. It was slightly time consuming on the prep, but about half way through that I busted out the food processor instead of hand chopping and the rest of the prep flew by. I linked your recipe to my FB page. Delicious!

  42. BrownEyedGirl says:

    This was delicious! I was surprised at the lengthy prep time, but I’ll probably just save it for the weekends instead of a school night. Really tasted like a restaurant dish. I couldn’t find smoked mozzarella at my grocer either, so I used shredded gruyere and mixed it with shredded mozz. It was outstanding!! Also, I used the sundried tomatoes in the bag because I didn’t want to pay for the jar, and they worked perfectly!

  43. Tracey says:

    I made this tonight for the first time, after stumbling across your website on Pinterest! Not having everything on hand, I improvised! I used ziti, asparagus, and smoked gouda! Still a very delicious recipe! My Italian husband gave it high praise! Thanks so much!

  44. Amy says:

    I made this last week for my family – I halved it and it still made a full 8×8 pan, which is plenty! We thought it was delicious! Who couldn’t like the flavor of smoked mozz? It gives it such a unique kick!

  45. Margaret says:

    Made this tonight for company and it was fabulous! This will be a keeper. I used regular mozzarella and it was delicious. I would like to try adding a little procuitto next time to bring in some smoky flavor. Thank you!

  46. […] as well. Here’s my recipe. You can look at the original recipe from mel’s kitchen cafe here. Also, I’m pinching Mel’s image because I forgot to take a photo of my dinner, if you […]

  47. […] Baked penne with chicken, broccoli and mozzarella  So what’s on your menu this week? Leave A Comment var addthis_config = { […]

  48. […] Monday: [b] cinnamon toast, [l] hot dogs, [d] baked penne with chicken + broccoli […]

  49. Emily says:

    I LOVE this recipe, but my kids are only so-so fans. Finally realized they didn’t like the texture of the garlic and onions in the sauce so when I made it tonight I subbed garlic and onion powder and it worked like a charm! Nice smooth sauce that the kids would eat! (Although I still couldn’t get them to touch the sundried tomatoes and broccoli.) I’ve made this in the past with different cheeses and it’s always turned out great. Tonight I had some cheese from sandwiches and other recipes I needed to use up so I threw in a slice each of swiss, smoked provolone, and smoked gouda….yum! Thanks for all your great recipes!

  50. Amanda says:

    Hi Mel, nice to meet you 🙂 fellow Wisconsin food blogger here, though I’m way down at the bottom of the state. Anyway, I made this recipe with several adaptations and we absolutely loved it, so glad I found you! Oh, and I saw in the comments that someone asked if you could use milk instead of cream. I used 1% milk and it worked great. 🙂 Thanks again and you can see my version here

  51. […] I spotted this baked penne with chicken, broccoli and smoked gouda on Mel’s Kitchen (a fellow Wisconsin blogger) and read the ingredient list, I knew it would […]

  52. […] Monday- Baked penne with smoked mozzarella  […]

  53. Jess says:

    Good recipe, bit overwhelming the first time (ESPECIALLY if you’re using an electric stove where it takes forever for anything to boil). I bought the fancy $7 a block Fontina cheese, couldnt find the smoked mozzarella, and personally wasnt that impressed taste wise. If I do this again I’ll probably just buy some good ole pre shredded mozzarella.

  54. […] Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, & Smoked Mozzarella – I didn’t make this a couple of weeks ago. […]

  55. […] Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, & Smoked Mozzarella […]

  56. Danielle says:

    If you prep, this dish does not take forever to make. Just get everything ready in advance so all you have to do is keep adding your ingredients as you go along. I made this for dinner tonight- I loved it! I had fresh thyme so I used that instead. I grated parmesan and mozzarella over it instead of the bread crumb topping just because I wanted more cheese. The sauce is so flavorful and wonderful, I loved it!

  57. […] next post). I had made an executive decision a while back to carbo load on Saturday nights. I had this recipe bookmarked for a while, but it kept on getting pushed back. As I’ve said before, I’m a […]

  58. TXMEL says:

    I made this last night for dinner. After BFF made it and it took her 3 hrs, I was pleased with 1:20 prep to oven time. It does take a while. I looked at 3 stores and could not find smoked Mozz, so I used half fresh mozz and half Asiago. (not enough smoky flavor still…) Had a Tbl of SDTomatoes in oil, used those plus rehydrated some dried in hot water while prepping. (ps… used the OIL from SDT’s to toss in the pasta after cooking… genius!)
    Using just one pot is genius, as it already makes LOTS of dishes, but I might try the ROASTING tip for the broccolli, onions and garlic next time, and use shredded chicken. I like the tip using liquid smoke… wish I’d thought of that! Will also try adding wine for some of the broth next time. AND adding bacon… genius! I forgot to add bread crumbs… didn’t have any on hand… but using RITZ?… also genius! Wish I’d read that before!
    LOVE Mel’s recipes! Always great, yummy and success!!! (From one Melanie to another Melanie!)

  59. Theresa says:

    Does anyone know how to find calorie content for this dish?

  60. denise says:

    I just made this last night and it was outstanding!
    My adjustments:
    I didn’t have chicken on hand so I added frozen peas for extra veggies
    Used Panko instead of Bread crumbs
    Added about a cup of dry white wine to sauce
    Used shredded mozz instead of smoked mozz

    It was great, lots of flavor and very moist. Even the re-heated left overs were tasty!

  61. […] a Comment This post may contain affiliate links. You can see my full disclosure policy here.Monday: Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella. Cost is about $8.Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! Cost is about $8 to feed everyone.Wednesday: Beef tips and […]

  62. Sarah says:

    This recipe was my intro to your blog when I stumbled upon the link here:, and it was REALLY yummy! My husband and 6-year-old both loved it too. I’m now searching your archives and making a (long) list of other recipes to try. Next up: The Broccoli Beef. Mmmm. So glad I’ve stumbled upon your site!

  63. Sarah says:

    This is absolutely delicious! I used leftover shredded chicken instead of cooking from raw (just to save a bit of time), doubled the smoked mozz., left out the tomatoes (because I forgot to buy them, oops!), and used Ritz crackers for the topping instead of breadcrumbs (at my husband’s request…he’s not a breadcrumb fan). I divided it into two 8×8 pans, baked one right away and froze the other. We had the frozen one tonight and it was just as yummy! Freeze the breadcrumb topping separately (just attach the bag with the topping to the pan with the pasta) so it doesn’t get soggy when it thaws, then thaw and bake using the make ahead directions. So, so good!

  64. […] It Is, Chicken Cutlets with Romesco and Prosciutto Cracklins from JBug’s Kitchen Antics, Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Smoked Mozzarella from KitchenCafe, Sopa de Ajo from Kitchenist, Cobb Salad in a Wrap from La Bella Vita, Sweet […]

  65. rebecca says:

    by the most delicious pasta i’ve ever had outside a restaurant. the only substitutions i made we swapping oregano for thyme, and regular mozz for smoked, but i was totally blown away by how flavorful the sauce was. i would also love to hear how people fare with freezing the recipe. i cut down the prep time a bit by using pre-grilled chicken, and will probably do so again, as it is a bit time consuming. thanks for the deliciousness!

  66. Mel says:

    Mary K – I’ve never frozen and baked later but if you look through the comments, I think others have tried it. If they haven’t, I think it’s probably worth a try and would fare decently.

  67. Mary K says:

    Can you freeze this and bake later? Will it turn out the same?

  68. Stephanie says:

    This was awesome! It was a bit time consuming, but so worth it in the end. My husband kept complimenting me through the entire meal. Thank you so much!

  69. Mel says:

    Adrienne – for the dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, submerge them in very hot water and let them sit for about 20 minutes. Drain and then slice them up for the recipe.

  70. Adrienne says:

    I second Jen M’s question – looked through and I couldn’t find the answer. I have sundried tomatoes in a bag, should i do anything to them before adding them?

  71. Mel says:

    Sierra – I think it would work out just fine, especially if you are used to vegetarian meals.

  72. Sierra says:

    this looks so yummy! i don’t eat meat though… wondering if the dish would suffer if i left chicken out and used veggie broth? can’t wait to try it though!

  73. Rachel says:

    Hi Mel, just to say thank you for the recipe. I made this for dinner earlier tonight. Had to use regular mozzarella as I just can’t get hold of smoked mozzarella over here in Liverpool (UK) and had to skip the breadcrumbs as I just don’t have any! But it still tasted really lovely… and indulgent… 🙂 Everyone loved it, my kids too!

  74. Paige says:

    I made this the other night for my family. We all loved it. I didn’t start making it until 6:30 and we ate around 8:00. So it did take a while to prepare for oven time. But next time I will just have to start a little earlier. Wonderful hearty meal for a cold night. Loved it. Thanks again for sharing it

  75. Tendayi says:

    Thanks for sharing, it sounds so good!!! I am not a cream sauce person. Do you think leaving the heavy cream out will ruin the recipe? Thanks for sharing!
    Tendayi Taylor

    • Mel says:

      Tendayi – if you left out the cream, you would probably have to play around with the broth (adding more) so the pasta isn’t so dry. I think this particular recipe really benefits from the cream, personally, but if you try it without, let me know how it turns out.

  76. denise says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, looks so flavorful! I’ve been looking to try a chicken recipe with white wine in it, do you think it would work to add a little white wine (assuming i use regular mozz) to this sauce? or would it not blend well with the other flavors?
    Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

    • Mel says:

      Denise, I’m almost positive this recipe included the white wine to begin with but because I don’t generally cook with wine, I omitted it. So yes, I think you could easily add white wine to this recipe and have it work well with the flavors!

  77. […] {Baked Penne with Mozzarella, Broccoli & Chicken} […]

  78. J'Aime says:

    This was fantastic! We used regular mozzerella, because that’s what was requested. We also omitted the sun-dried tomatoes and added crimini mushrooms to the sauce. It was a hit!

  79. Mel says:

    Suzanne – you could probably get away with using basil or oregano, it will change the flavor slightly, but if you like those herbs, it should work out ok.

  80. Suzanne says:

    Do you have any good ideas for something other than thyme to use to flavor the dish?

  81. […] Pasta day!  Chicken, broccoli and smoked mozzarella pasta.  This is so tasty.  Chicken was $1.69/lb at Randalls ($3.38), broccoli was $1 at HEB, pasta was […]

  82. Alexis says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I didn’t have an onion so I just added a lot of onion powder and onion flakes. I also cut the recipe in half since it was just for me and my husband. I wound up having seconds and there’s still a very large portion left in the fridge for later! I also used regular shredded mozzarella (Sargento) instead of smoked.

    I have to say, the sundried tomatoes are a must! They really add an explosion of flavor to every bite. And I loved the breadcrumb topping. This was a great meal, and I’m looking forward to having it again (though next time with a real onion — and maybe a half and half instead of heavy cream for a little less guilt).

  83. Sarah says:

    We made this last night and it was a hit, even with my toddler (he especially loves broccoli). We used half-and-half and it was still really quite rich. I may cut that with milk next time (or not).

  84. Linda says:

    Made this for dinner Monday night! My family LOVED it! You are awesome Mel…. LOVE your website.

  85. Bri says:

    After making this we realized we really don’t like smoked mozzarella. You live and learn. I do want to try it again though because I did love the other flavors. I was thinking of doing parmesan instead of the mozzarella. Could I use half and half instead of heavy cream too? Has anyone tried this with whole wheat pasta?

    • Mel says:

      Bri – yes, you could use half-and-half and you might even be able to get away with using milk but the sauce may not thicken up as much. I think it would work just fine with whole wheat pasta, although I haven’t tried it that way.

  86. Kari says:

    This is very good. My husband told me that it is as delicious as food you get at a restaurant.

  87. Mindy says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was SO delicious… my kids devoured it and my husband loved it. I couldn’t find smoked mozzarella (my regular grocery store doesn’t have a ton of “specialty” variety), so I used regular mozzarella and added several shakes of liquid smoke to the broth/cream sauce as the chicken was cooking. It tasted great, but I was hoping for even more smoky flavor, so I plan to search harder for the smoked mozzarella when I make this again soon. Thanks for the delicious recipe!! Yours is my favorite recipe blog, hands down!

  88. Made this for my family last week and Everyone LOVED it!

  89. Elise says:

    I was just wondering if you use fresh, regular dried or panko bread crumbs?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Elise – I either use freshly ground bread crumbs or panko, if I don’t have the time to make my own. Hope that helps!

  90. n82 says:

    This was good. We enjoyed it.

  91. Alanna says:

    I just got around to trying this today and it was AMAZING. This is quickly becoming my go-to website for new recipes– thanks so much for sharing!!!

  92. Sarah says:

    Love your blog! I use it all the time. This recipe was outstanding. My kids & husband loved it! Thank you.

  93. Beth says:

    I am planning to make this for 2 friends who just had babies tomorrow… But what’s the deal with 8 hours before hand? What would happen if I made it 24 hours ahead of time?? Thank you!!

    • Mel says:

      Beth – I think making it too far in advance and the sauce might make the pasta too soggy (or the pasta bake may even dry out a bit on the top layer where the pasta has settled to the bottom).

  94. Lorie says:

    Hi Melanie, how much will the dish suffer if I omit the sun dried tomatoes? I’ll probably buy it but it was so expensive!


    • Mel says:

      Lorie, if the sun-dried tomatoes are really expensive, definitely leave them out. I don’t like spending a lot of money on fussy ingredients, so I wouldn’t bother if I were you. The dish will lose a little tang from the tomatoes but I think you could easily substitute a can of drained, diced tomatoes.

  95. Kathy says:

    Made this for the family last night. It was a hit! I used regular mozzarella since I couldn’t find the smoked mozzarella. Thanks!

  96. k says:

    i made this two nights ago. i loved it! my boys wouldn’t touch it (ARGH), but i was kind of glad because, well, more for me! i used plain mozzarella and rotini because that’s what i had. awesome. i took leftovers with me to watch tennis matches yesterday and it was even better than the night before (didn’t think that could even be possible)! oh, i was almost at the end of the recipe when i realized i hadn’t put in the salt and pepper. when is that supposed to happen? does it matter? i just threw it in when i realized. thanks so much for this recipe. it’s one of my new favorites!

  97. Jen M says:

    If I used the dry sundried tomatoes instead of the oil packed ones do I need to plump them with hot water or something first?

  98. Janelle says:

    This sounds really good, but what I really appreciate is the use of the same pan for each part of meal prep, instead of dirtying three separate pans.

    For those asking about where to find smoked Mozzarella, I can usually find it with the “fancy” cheeses over by the deli at the back of the produce department at my grocery store.

  99. Stacey says:

    Was wondering where you find the smoked mozzarella at? I have never seen it. Thanks

  100. n82 says:

    Made this today. Was pretty good. Took forever to make tho 🙂

  101. Mary says:

    Another fabulous pasta recipe. I made it last night for me and my mother. She doesn’t like broccoli cooked with her pasta so I omitted that part but on my plate I stirred in some baby spinach. It was wonderful. The smoked mozzarella was a nice and delicious change of pace for pasta.

  102. Taylor says:

    I made this tonight and LOVED it! The smoked mozzarella was so unique and delicious….definitely a keeper!! Thanks so much for the great recipe 🙂

  103. Carlin says:

    This was oh so good!!! Restaurant quality, for sure. I just felt like it took me FOREVER to put together. Am I the only one? I think it will be a special occasion dinner.
    Oh, and I was nervous about putting the chicken in the sauce raw, but it cooked up perfectly!

  104. Ok, Mel. You’ve outdone yourself again. Is it any wonder that your site is bookmarked on my tabs for quick access? I am making this ASAP!

    BTW- I blogged about your wonderful cornbread today!

  105. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the great idea! We love pasta and use Barillas new PLUS whole grain pasta, it was great to find they have penne for this dish. Tomatoes, broccoli and cheeses meshed into wonderful flavors, will make this again!!!

  106. grace says:

    i need to just state that the bread crumb topping makes all the difference in the world. masterful.

  107. KarenC says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and everyone loved it! It was so cheesy and delicious. I tossed my onions, broccoli and garlic together with a little olive oil and roasted them in the oven. Same with the chicken. Then I made the sauce and stirred everything together with the pasta. I used panko for the crumb topping. It was delicious.

    Thanks, Mel!

  108. Oh I wish I had a bowl of this right now! This looks aaaamazing!

  109. Cammee says:

    I’m dying to try this. I love your other Chicken, Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta. But smoked mozzarella? This has to be good!

  110. Hello!
    I just wanted to take time and tell you how much I LOVE, not only your recipes, but your blog, your blog layout, your photos, pretty much everything. You are doing such a fantastic job.
    Your photos are wonderful, and your recipes are simply my style all the way! You really are doing a fantastic job. Everything looks so good, I can’t wait to start making your creations. Thanks so much, Sally

  111. Abby says:

    YUM! I can’t wait to try this out!

  112. Kim in MD says:

    Ok, Melanie. Can I just say that this looks like the most delicious pasta recipe I have seen since your one skillet pasta recipe?! My children request that pasta at least once a week! This looks like my kind of pasta- I LOVE smoked mozzarella! This is on the menu in my house next week…thanks so much for your amazing blog!

  113. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CP, Recipes for you. Recipes for you said: Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella: I love me some pasta. Look no further than here for ev… […]

  114. Carlee says:

    Leave no carb untouched…that’s my motto. I love pasta – it’s so easy and versitle. The falovour combinations in this dish sound yummy – I will be making a vegetarian version of this for the weekend. Thanks for all the great recipe ideas. And your photos are lovely.

  115. Zoe says:

    YUM!! The Pasta looks so tasty~ can’t wait to make this!Thanks!

  116. Veronica says:

    Oh, I’m a pasta girl too and I like the sound of this one! Saved!

  117. Jina says:

    I made this today and it was awesome! All 3 kids enjoyed it so that makes it a winner in my book. I used regular Mozzarella because it’s what I had on hand and I threw in a few bacon bits just because I thought it would be good. Thanks so much Mel! I love your site and check it everyday!

  118. Mel says:

    Linda – the chicken is added raw and cooked with the broth/cream mixture.

  119. Linda says:

    Is the chicken added raw or cooked? Sounds great!

  120. Rebekah says:

    That sounds amazing! I’ll have to make it soon.

  121. kathleen says:

    Holy YUM! I can’t wait to make this! Thanks girlfriend!!!

  122. Norah B says:

    Oh gosh I want this tonight. Sadly I can’t grocery shop until next month but this looks so good. I can’t wait to give it a try.

  123. Jackie says:

    Hi Mel

    I do not like smoked mozzarella, what other type of cheese can I use in this recipe. Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Jackie – do you like regular mozzarella? It would make a perfect substitution. You could also substitute fontina with great results.

  124. This looks like it would be a huge hit in this house. I think I may just have everything too!

  125. KarenC says:

    Oh, yum! I love pasta, too… especially penne. I’m going to make this dish this weekend. It’s got some of my favorite ingredients in it, so I already know it’s going to be delicious!

  126. HollyL says:

    This sounds amazing! I LOVE pasta.. broccoli.. cheese… all of it! YUM

  127. Sara says:

    This looks so good! I love baked pastas.

  128. Jana says:

    Hello Mel-
    I just found your website from u-create foods site and
    I love your recipes. I already have so many on my must try list
    Especially your favorite cookie recipes. But the moment
    I knew you were a real foodie is when you listed you
    use a Bosch instead of the kitchenaid. Seriously, best mixer
    ever! Thanks again for all your recipes.

  129. Gwyn says:

    Yes, Pasta, I love it!! I will have to make this one!!

  130. Beth says:

    YUM!!! Darn Weight Watchers… 😉 I will definitely be making this for a special occasion… Points be damned! Sorry if this is a dumb question… But I have never heard of smoked mozzerella…sound delish! Where can you find it at the grocery? Thanks for another awesome recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Beth – I usually find the smoked mozzarella tucked in next to the other specialty-type cheeses, like feta, brie, blue cheese. You can substitute regular mozz if you can’t find the smoked.

  131. Jenny says:

    Love pastahhhhhhh. . . especially penne. It looks and sounds like a wonderful combination of flavors. What’s not to like?

  132. Classic dish and flavors- looks wonderful and hearty!

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