This final college recipe was also given to me by Connie. She was full of spunk and personality and self-assurance; someone who owned the room when she walked into any situation.
We were still cooking for apartment 306 when Connie first told me about this chicken spaghetti. I thought that it all sounded very odd. “I can’t explain it,” she finally said. “You’ll just have to wait until dinner is done. I promise you will like it.”
I have to admit that I was skeptical as I watched her make it, especially when I saw her pour a cup of cream over the entire casserole. However, once the chicken spaghetti started baking I began to see the light. Then when I tasted it, I became a believer and so did the boys in 306. This still remains one of my favorite dinner meals.
- Instead of canned mushrooms I used fresh.
- The original recipe called for the vegetables and mushrooms to be sauteed. I did not saute the vegetables or mushrooms prior to adding them to the pasta, which actually made them quite flavorful and somewhat crisp-tender.
- The last change is that I mixed in some of the cheese with the pasta/vegetable mixture instead of only putting it on top. Mega great idea!
- 4 chicken breasts (or any equivalent amount of chicken pieces. I used about 1/2 of a rotisserie chicken.)
- 1 bell pepper, small diced
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced then rough chopped (Leave the pieces chunky.)
- 1 large onion, small diced
- 3 stalks celery, small diced
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 8 ounces (weight) sharp cheddar cheese, grated (more if you need it)
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 pound spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds
- olive oil, optional
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
- Boil or bake chicken until done (or use a rotisserie chicken; my personal preference). Cut up in small pieces.
- While chicken cooks, prep vegetables and mushrooms.
- Cook spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, softened but still chewy. Do not over-cook. The pasta will pick up more moisture from the vegetables as it bakes. It is better to have the noodles somewhat under-done than to have them over-done prior to adding them to the casserole.
- Drain the spaghetti noodles in a colander and rinse under cool water. Drain well.
- In a large bowl, mix together the spaghetti, vegetables, drained tomatoes, and mushrooms. Drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired. It adds to the creaminess factor, but is not necessary.
- Then mix in one or two handsful of grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Put mixture in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and top with remaining grated cheese.
- Pour the cream evenly over the top of the cheese. (Trust me on this.)
- Bake on a middle oven rack, uncovered, for 50 minutes to one hour.