Chicken pasta casserole is a heavy hitter thanks to its make-aheadness and the fact that this recipe is enough for you to make one and freeze one. You can even bake it from frozen, and feel free to swap in ingredients your family likes.
Make-Ahead, Freezer Friendly
I take issue with chickens. The live kind, I mean. And sure, I have 4 grown hens plus 6 chicks myself–but that’s what a good farmer is supposed to have. I’m doing my agricultural duty.
And I like them as long as I don’t have to touch them. I don’t touch chickens. Period.
I feel almost certain this comes from my childhood. My family always had chickens, and apparently owning chickens means you enter into some sort of unspoken brotherhood of chicken swapping.
Random person: “I sure do need a couple more hens…”
Second random person (usually my mom): “I have two you can have. I’ll bring them over to you this evening.” Then you would insert some sort of discussion about their breed, temperament and whether or not they’re laying.
What was really bad for me as a kid was the transporting of the chicken to said random person. Mom would wait until they went to roost in the evening and snatch them down from their pole by one leg–wings flapping, chicken throwing a fit–she’d tie their legs together with grass string and put that stupid bird in the backseat of the car with me.
I can see it like it’s happening: that chicken’s yellow-green eye staring up at me from the other side of the car. “Rrrrrrrrrr….” The chicken would rumble out a slow low sound from the back of its throat. I’d scoot as far away as I could.
I wish I was different. I’m just not. I’m tormented by the kids and my husband who seem to get so much joy from my phobia. As usual.
So I’ll enjoy chicken in another way–in this creamy chicken pasta. This is a slightly adjusted version of Martha Stewart’s Chicken Tetrazzini. I’ve been making this for several years and it’s great for two reasons.
1: It makes a TON of food. Use the biggest pan you own or even a large pot to make this or you’ll be sorry. 2: It freezes really well for baking on the fly. And you can bake it from frozen. Love that.
If I’m going to the trouble to cook it, I always make a full batch and freeze half in an aluminum baking pan or other freezer-to-oven friendly dish. Make sure if you bake a frozen pan that’s glass, Pyrex, or ceramic, to put it in a cold oven and heat it slowly with the food in it so you don’t crack your pan.
And feel free to swap in whatever green veggie you like. The original called for peas. I used broccoli. Just whatever makes you happy.
Make One, Freeze One Creamy Chicken Pasta
- 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 pound white button mushrooms wiped clean and sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 can low sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup white wine you can use the juice of two lemons if you don't do wine
- 3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves
- 1 pound linguine pasta broken in half
- 1 rotisserie chicken skin removed and meat shredded
- 10-12 ounces thawed broccoli florets split into bite size pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you plan to bake your pasta now, preheat the oven to 400.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- While waiting for the water to boil, melt 2 tablespoons butter in your large pan or pot and saute the mushrooms over medium heat--about 6 minutes. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- If your water is boiling, add your pasta and cook 2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente.
- In the same pan, melt the last 4 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat and add the flour. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring well.
- Add the broth, wine, milk and thyme and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly and will coat the back of a spoon.
- Add 2 cups of Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the pasta and return it to its pot.
- Add the sauce, chicken and broccoli and stir well.
- Divide the mixture between two 2-quart baking dishes, or whatever size pan works for you.
- Sprinkle the tops with 1/2 cup each of the remaining Parmesan.
- Bake 25-30 minutes until brown; let stand 10 minutes before serving*
To bake from frozen: Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 1 1/2-2 hours.
To bake from thawed: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes until the center is hot and bubbly.
*nutrition information is based on 1/12 of the full recipe or 1/6 of a half recipe.