Craving a cheesy and mildly spicy pasta dish to wake up your tastebuds? Then this chicken fra diavolo bake is for you! Brimming with tender penne pasta combined with chunks of juicy chicken breast, plus a wine-infused tomato sauce with lots of garlic and a touch of red pepper flakes, this chicken fra diavolo bake recipe is a casserole-style twist on the classic!
Chicken Fra Diavolo as a Pasta Bake
Seeing as I love some spicy kick to my food, I've always been partial to pasta dishes made with a simple, rustic tomato sauce infused with red pepper flakes, lots of garlic, and a touch of wine.
This type of sauce is typically known as “fra diavolo” sauce, Italian for “from the devil”. It's a sauce brimming with lots of earthy flavor and often served with chicken or shrimp as favorite add-ins.
Fra diavolo sauce is my inspiration for this chicken fra diavolo bake, taking a classic chicken fra diavolo recipe and turning it into a comfy-cozy bake topped with lots of gooey, melted mozzarella and loads of mildly spicy and zesty flavor.
It's the perfect pasta dish to whip up when you're craving something hearty, satisfying and “zippy” to really warm you up from within, offering lots of TLC and coziness in each bite!
My Chicken Fra Diavolo Bake Recipe
There's little more convenient for me when it comes to making a pasta dish than combining all of the delicious ingredients together in a large casserole dish to create a pasta bake—nice and rustic, and easy to spoon up without any muss or fuss!
This chicken fra diavolo bake is just such a dish, and it's just a matter of prepping a few simple components before combining them and baking things off...
I like to add chicken to this recipe, so I cut chicken breast tenderloins into small pieces and season them well, coating in a bit of flour to help with the browning in the hot pan. The tenderloins cook quite quickly and stay nice and tender, but chicken breasts can be substituted in a pinch.
I also prep a rustic wine, garlic and red pepper flake infused tomato sauce to tie everything together, made with good quality canned crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, wine, plus dried and fresh herbs for flavor.
And while I use penne pasta as my choice of pasta here, you can certainly use your preferred pasta such as fusilli (corkscrew), macaroni, rigatoni, even a fun and unique shape of your choice!
Here's a glance at my chicken fra diavolo bake recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I cut my chicken breast tenderloins into bite size pieces
- Next, I season and sear the tenderloins, and then set them aside.
- I now prepare my fra diavolo sauce, and allow that to simmer.
- While the fra diavolo sauce simmers, I cook my penne according to package instructions, and keep that warm.
- Then, I combine my pasta, sauce and chicken, spoon into a casserole baking dish, top with mozzarella cheese, and bake until hot, bubbly and gooey!
Chicken Fra Diavolo Bake
by Ingrid Beer
This chicken fra diavolo bake topped with mozzarella is prepared with rich, flavorful sauce kissed with wine, garlic and red pepper flakes!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 675 calories (per serving)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- 1 ½ pounds chicken breast tenders (or skinless, boneless breasts) cut into bite-sized pieces
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Olive oil
- 1 white onion, finely diced
- 6 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on how spicy you like things!)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup white wine (you can also use red)
- 1 large (28 ounce) can plus 1 small (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-lead parsley
- 10 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 2 cups whole-milk mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded
- ¼ cup julienned basil leaves, for garnish
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Preheat oven to 350°, and lightly mist a baking/casserole dish (about 3 quart) with cooking spray.
- Season the chicken pieces with a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, plus the granulated onion and garlic, and toss to coat. Sprinkle in the flour, and toss to coat the pieces once again.
- Place a medium-size pot or a large, deep saute pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil. Once hot, add in the chicken pieces in a single layer (work in a couple of batches, if necessary), and allow them to sit, undisturbed, for about 4 minutes, or until golden-brown and slightly crisp on that first side.
- Stir and allow the chicken to become golden-brown on all sides for a few minutes more, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside for a moment.
- Into that same pot/pan add a touch more oil (if needed), and add in the diced onion. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, then add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and the tomato paste, and stir together to combine. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until aromatic.
- Add in the wine, followed by the crushed tomatoes, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low/low, and allow the sauce to simmer gently, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
- While the sauce simmers, prep your pasta according to the package instructions, and keep warm.
- Finish your sauce with the chopped parsley, and a little more salt and pepper, if needed.
- To assemble the bake, add your cooked penne pasta into the sauce, along with the chicken pieces, and gently stir to combine. Spoon the mixture out into your prepared baking/casserole dish, and top with the mozzarella cheese, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve with some fresh basil as garnish.
Tips & Tidbits for my Chicken Fra Diavolo Bake recipe:
- Good quality, canned crushed organic tomatoes for best flavor: Whenever I purchase canned tomatoes to make homemade tomato sauce (or even add to other dishes), I like to use organic tomatoes. You can use any good quality canned tomatoes, just opt for crushed tomatoes for this recipe, or use whole tomatoes that you've crushed yourself.
- Penne pasta, or your favorite variety of pasta: I'm going with penne pasta here, but feel free to use corkscrew pasta, bow tie pasta, rigatoni pasta, macaroni, or your favorite fun shape.
- Sub shrimp for chicken: If you're a fan of shrimp fra diavolo, you could sub shrimp for the chicken here. Instead of cooking the shrimp first, then baking it with the pasta (this would overcook the shrimp), simply leave the shrimp out of the baking process. Just season and sear the shrimp for a couple of minutes per side, then serve it on the side of the fra diavolo bake.
Craving more mouthwatering pasta recipes? Check out my recipe for Baked Ziti, Vegetable Pasta with Mozzarella, Baked Mac and Cheese, Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Artichoke, Beefaroni, or my recipe for Spinach Lasagna!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2016, and has been updated with even more love!