This is a wonderful casserole that I have been making since the recipe was first published. Over the years, I have refined it to make it a little easier and successful every time. I use fully-cooked chicken breasts that my grocery supplies in the freezer section, warmed according to package directions in the oven. It's also good with rotisserie chicken, but the shredding is time-consuming. I use a 32 oz container of broth to ensure that the sauce is not runny (I believe the amount called for is too much). I use the food processor for the onions and celery and pre-sliced mushrooms. I use panko. And aside from those changes, I make the recipe as written. It is my go-to for families who have a new baby, have had surgery, or a death in the family, as it is very comforting. Sometimes you just want that, no need to make it more complex. I cook once, and while it is time consuming, I feed my family one casserole and give the other to a family who appreciates it, and it's 1.5 hours well-spent.
A classic that makes great use of leftover turkey or chicken. It’s so creamy and comforting that you’ll be glad it makes two casseroles—one for now and one for later.
More From Cooking Light
- Calories: 422
- Fat: 12.1g
- Saturated fat: 6.5g
- Monounsaturated fat: 2.7g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.8g
- Protein: 35g
- Carbohydrate: 39.6g
- Fiber: 2.3g
- Cholesterol: 76mg
- Iron: 2.7mg
- Sodium: 702mg
- Calcium: 272mg
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2/3 cup finely chopped celery
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 (8-ounce) packages presliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
- 3 (14.5-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 7 cups hot cooked vermicelli (about 1 pound uncooked pasta)
- 4 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
- 2. Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, black pepper, salt, and mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry; cook 1 minute.
- 3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Gradually add flour to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly (mixture will be thick) with a whisk. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
- 4. Add 1 ¾ cups Parmesan cheese and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until cream cheese melts. Add pasta and chicken; stir until blended. Divide pasta mixture between 2 (8-inch-square) glass or ceramic baking dishes coated with cooking spray.
- 5. Place bread in food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form. Combine breadcrumbs and ½ cup Parmesan cheese; sprinkle evenly over pasta.
- 6. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Remove casserole from oven; let stand 15 minutes.
- To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through Step 5. Cool completely in refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.
- To prepare frozen unbaked casserole: Thaw casserole completely in refrigerator (about 24 hours). Preheat oven to 350°. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover casserole with reserved foil; bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 1 hour or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes.
This recipe was updated for the November, 2012 25th anniversary issue.
Only you will be able to view, print, and edit this note.Add Note