A Creamy Chicken Casserole That’s Become My Family’s New Comfort Food

published Oct 2, 2021
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Chicken Tetrazzini

This family-friendly dish is the perfect make-ahead meal for a busy weeknight.

Serves6 to 8

Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour 10 minutes

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Chicken Tetrazzini (baked spaghetti with peas, chicken and mushroom in a creamy sauce) in a pan
Credit: Kelli Foster
Chicken Tetrazzini

If you love a good chicken and pasta bake swathed in a rich and creamy sauce, chicken tetrazzini will be right up your alley. Chances are that you’ve likely heard of this crowd-pleasing casserole, even if you have yet to make it. And what you need to know is that it’s the MVP of creamy, comforting casseroles. This version is mixed with linguine pasta, juicy shredded chicken, buttery mushrooms, and peas, all swimming in a luxe sauce and topped with a blanket of toasted panko and Parm.

How to Make Chicken Tetrazzini 

First, let’s talk about the chicken for a minute. The recipe calls for cooked chicken — this can be breasts, thighs, or drumsticks. It’s totally up to you and all cuts work well here. To save time, I like to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. 

It’s helpful to break the process of making chicken tetrazzini into five steps.

  1. Sauté the vegetables. You’ll start by sautéing onion, garlic, and sliced mushrooms in a Dutch oven until softened.
  2. Make the sauce. Add flour to the Dutch oven, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook for one minute. Stir in milk, heavy cream, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Cook the linguine. While the sauce simmers, cook the linguine in a pot of salted boiling water, for two minutes less than package instructions. Drain. 
  4. Assemble the casserole. Add the pasta, shredded chicken, and frozen peas to the Dutch oven. Stir to combine, then transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Top with panko and Parmesan.
  5. Bake the casserole. Bake the casserole until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Best Type of Dish for Cooking Chicken Tetrazzini

When making chicken tetrazzini you’ll want to use a 9×13-inch (or 3-quart) baking dish.

Storing and Freezing Chicken Tetrazzini

If you’re looking to get a jump on dinner, know that chicken tetrazzini can be made in advance. The casserole can be prepped and assembled a day ahead of time, then cooled completely, covered with foil, and stored in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, let the casserole sit at room temperature while the oven heats, then bake covered until it’s heated through, about one hour.

Want an even bigger head-start? You can also freeze chicken tetrazzini after assembling (but before baking) the casserole. If you’re planning to freeze chicken tetrazzini, it can be helpful to use a 9×13-inch foil pan instead of a baking dish. Once the casserole is assembled and cooled, wrap the foil pan or baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and freeze for up to two months. When you’re ready to cook, bake the frozen casserole, still covered in the foil, in a 350°F oven until heated through, about one hour and 45 minutes. Alternatively, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight and bake covered until heated through, about one hour.

Credit: Kelli Foster
Chicken Tetrazzini

What to Serve with Chicken Tetrazzini

Between the pasta, chicken, and creamy sauce, chicken tetrazzini is a hearty casserole. Serving a green vegetable, salad, or even some garlic bread is a great way to round out dinner. 

Chicken Tetrazzini

This family-friendly dish is the perfect make-ahead meal for a busy weeknight.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese, finely grated (scant 1/3 cup store-bought or 1/2 cup grated on the small holes of a box grater)

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 5 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 pound

    sliced cremini mushrooms

  • 3 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more for the pasta water

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/3 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups

    whole milk

  • 1 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 12 ounces

    cooked boneless chicken (about 3 cups)

  • 1 pound

    dried linguine

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  2. Dice 1 medium yellow onion and mince 3 garlic cloves. If needed, finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 lightly packed cup).

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out the pot if there are still breadcrumbs inside.

  4. Melt 3 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in the same Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms and onions start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

  5. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to the Dutch oven. When melted, add 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, stir to coat the vegetables (it will be a little clumpy), and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, the remaining 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and stir until no lumps of flour remain. Bring to a boil over high heat.

  6. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop or shred 12 ounces cooked chicken (about 3 cups).

  7. Add 1 pound dried linguine to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than the package instructions, about 7 minutes. Drain. Add the pasta, chicken, and 1 cup frozen peas to the sauce. Stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

  8. Add the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning to the cooled panko, and stir to combine. Scatter evenly over the casserole.

  9. Bake uncovered until lightly browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Pasta options: Spaghetti, fettuccine, bucatini, or any other long strand pasta can be used in place of linguine.

Make ahead: The casserole can be assembled, cooled completely, covered with aluminum foil, and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead. When ready to cook, let the casserole sit at room temperature while the oven heats, then bake covered until heated through, about 1 hour.

Alternatively, assemble the casserole, cool completely, wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. Bake frozen, still covered in the foil, in a 350°F oven until heated through, about 1 3/4 hours. Alternatively, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake covered until heated through, about 1 hour.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini