This is another Giada De Laurentiis recipe. It is really easy and quick to prepare. I think it is one of the most unpretentious recipes I've seen her make. Probably because it was on an episode where she was cooking with kids. The hardest part is waiting for it to come out of the oven.
Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina
adapted by Giada De Laurentiis
1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thin sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced leek, or onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Saute until soft and liquid starts to evaporate, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pasta.
Add the chicken to the saute pan and cook for 3 minutes. Add the leeks and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.