Baked Artichoke Chicken Pasta
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
4 fat cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed between fingertips
12 ounces rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
pinch of nutmeg
1 heaping cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered (I use jarred, packed in oil and drained)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
In a large skillet heat a tablespoon or 2 of oil over medium heat and add the onions. Season with a dash of salt and pepper, cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.
Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. In the same skillet heat another tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the chicken. Cook through, stirring every few minutes so all sides get browned. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta to al dente in plenty of salted water. Meanwhile make the sauce and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook 3 minutes, whisking often. Slowly whisk in milk, bring to a simmer for 3 minutes, whisking often. Turn heat to low, whisk in nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and the parmesan cheese. Turn off heat.
Generously butter a 9x13-inch casserole or baking pan. Drain pasta, add back to the pan and toss with the chicken and onion/garlic. Add about 3/4 of the sauce to the pasta and stir well. Pour into the casserole pan and spread out evenly.
Scatter the artichokes evenly over top then spoon the remaining sauce over them. Sprinkle with the mozzarella.
Bake 40 minutes until bubbly all over and golden on top. If the cheese starts to get too brown cover with aluminum foil. Allow to set 5 minutes before serving.