Everyone's favorite Italian dish in an easy casserole form! You can always use frozen or store-bought chicken tenders if you don't feel like making yours homemade. The whole family will love this dish!
Ingredients• 3/4 pound rigatoni pasta • 32 ounces marinara sauce • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded & separated • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts • 3/4 cup flour • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt • 1/4 teaspoon pepper • 2 eggs • 1 1/2 cups Italian breadcrumbs • 3/4 cup vegetable oil • 2 tablespoons butter • fresh Parsley, to garnish
Prepare the rigatoni following the package instructions. Cook for about 1 minute less than al dente (refer to package for cooking time).
When the pasta is done, drain it of all liquid and put it back in the pot. Toss the pasta with your marinara sauce, about 1/3 of the parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Then, set it aside. Next, pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and cut it into strips approximately 1/2 inch thick.
Create an assembly line for breading the chicken. In the first Bowl: a mixture of 3/4 cup flour, 2 teaspoon seasoned salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. In the second Bowl: 2 beaten eggs. In the third Bowl: 1.5 cups breadcrumbs.
Make an assembly line for breading the chicken: Move the chicken through the assembly line, first drench the chicken in the flour mixture, then dip the breasts in the beaten eggs, finally cover them in the breadcrumb mixture until they are completely covered. Use your palms and fingers to lightly press the breadcrumbs into the chicken breasts. Then, set it aside. Bowl #2: 2 beaten eggs. Bowl #3: 1.5 cups breadcrumbs
Using a heavy skillet of dutch oven, add oil about ¼ inches deep over medium-high heat. Then, add the butter. When the oil is hot, use tongs to lower the chicken into the cookware. Fry the strips in batches. Cook the breasts for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. You might need to add oil in between the batches to maintain the depth.
Move the fried strips to a paper towel-lined plate/pan, to help absorb the oil. Which leaves you with crispier chicken. Slice up the strips into smaller pieces and set the oven to 375 degrees F (or 190 degrees C).
Gently grease a 9 x 13” oven-safe dish and add half of your pasta and sauce mixture. Place the chicken strips on top, Then add 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella.
Top it off with the remaining rigatoni/sauce mixture, the rest of the chicken strips, and the remaining cheeses. Bake the dish uncovered for around 25-35 minutes. If you want a crisper top, increase heat to 425 F (218 C), and bake for about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
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