2mediumskinless chicken breastscut into chunks or 5 or 6 chicken tenders
2Tablespoonsvegetable oil for cooking chicken
½teaspoonground black pepper
5ouncesfrozen chopped spinachdrained well
6oz jar marinated artichoke heart drained and chopped
8ouncespastaI used farfalle, or bowtie, but any shape will work
4ouncesdiced pimientosdrained, optional
2cupsgrated cheesecheddar, Havarti, or muenster would be good
In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions to al dente stage. Drain.
Heat a saute' pan or skillet to medium-high. After the skillet is hot add 2 Tablespoons of oil. While oil is getting hot, salt and pepper chicken. Add chicken to the hot pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high heat. Turn and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Cook time will depend on how hot your pan is. You can cut chicken open to test for doneness. Remove from pan when they're cooked.
Cook Bechamel Sauce. Heat a large pot on medium. (You can use the same pot you boiled the pasta in.) Melt butter in a hot pan, but don't let the butter brown. Add flour and whisk. Cook flour for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and continue whisking to remove any lumps. Cook until sauce thickens for 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1 cup cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
Combine pasta, chicken, artichokes, spinach (squeeze excess liquid out with a paper towel then pull it apart into small pieces), and pimientos in a large bowl.
Pour sauce over pasta mixture and gently stir. Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Top mixture with remaining 1 cup cheese.
At this point, you can refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours and cook later.
When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375°F. Cook uncovered 25 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted, bubbly, and browned.