This was sooooo yummy! I was a little worried when I was making it at first. I didn't know how the flavors would all blend and come together. Everyone loved it - it tastes like something you would order at a restaraunt. I personally think the bread crumbs absolutely MAKE it!
3/4 c bread crumbs
2 TBS butter, melted
1 bunch of broccoli florets(about 1 1/2 lbs), trimmed into 1-inch pieces (I just used a bag of frozen)
12 oz penne pasta
2 TBS olive oil
1 med onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp dried thyme (I didn't have any, so I left this out)
1/4 c flour
2 c chicken broth
1 c heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 oz smoked mozzarella, shredded (I just used plain - couldn't find smoked ANYWHERE)
8 oz jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces
In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and butter - set aside.
Preheat oven to 400*
In lg pot, bring water to boil. Stir in salt and broccoli. Cook broccoli for about 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove with slotted spoon to a plate. Return water to a boil and add pasta. Cook until a little less than how you would eat it normally.
Drain pasta and toss with 1 TBS oil. Leave in collander and set aside.
Wipe pot dry. Add remaining 1 TBS oil and return to medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown - about 5 min. Stir in garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 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 sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella.
Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine.
Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake until casserole s bubbling and crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.