Start to Finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
The beauty of chicken casserole is its versatility. From this basic recipe, you can freely substitute vegetables, starches and flavoring ingredients to suit your tastes or the occasion.
- 12 ounces dry farfalle pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, cubed
- 12 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the farfalle pasta al dente according to the manufacturer's directions. Drain and pour the cooked noodles into a large casserole dish.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Adjust the burner temperature to medium-low and add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are tender but not soft.
Add the garlic and continue to cook just until it becomes pungent, about 30 seconds. Put the chicken pieces in the hot pan and cook, turning occasionally until they are browned evenly. The chicken will not be cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and empty the vegetables and chicken into the casserole dish. Mix in the frozen vegetables. Set it aside.
Return the pan to the stove and add the butter. Turn the heat to low. When the butter is melted, add the flour, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine them into a thick paste. Cook for about one minute. Increase the heat to medium and slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Pour the sauce over the pasta, chicken and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine.
Bake the casserole for 45 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl.
Remove the casserole from the oven and evenly sprinkle the top with the breadcrumb mixture. Return the casserole to the oven for another 15 minutes or until the topping is crisp and browned.
Like most casseroles, this one is easy to customize. Try these suggestions as a starting point:
- Substitute rice for the pasta.
- Include a frozen stir-fry mix instead of typical mixed vegetables - or skip the freezer section and use your favorite fresh vegetables instead.
- Add your favorite dried herbs or spices to the sauce.
- If you like spicy foods, add cayenne pepper to the breadcrumb topping.
Tricia Ballad is a writer, author and project geek. She has written several books including two novels, teaches classes on goal setting and project planning for writers, and loves to cook in her spare time. She is living proof that you can earn a living with a degree in creative writing.