- 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
- 6 cups cubed cooked chicken
- 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce
- 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1 jar (8.1 ounces) prepared pesto
- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, cheese blend, spinach, tomatoes, Alfredo sauce, milk and pesto. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture; toss to coat.
- Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dishes. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil; sprinkle over casseroles.
- Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly.
- To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).
Full-Bodied White Wine
Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.
Reviews for Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles
"Like other's said, this is delicious. After reading the reviews and then first trying it, I was a little disappointed. But after several more bites, I realized this is definitely a keeper. I cut this recipe in half, cooked the chicken beforehand, and as another reviewer suggested, used (undrained) petite diced tomatoes instead of crushed. I actually measured out the ounces instead of estimating "oh, this looks like about half a jar of pesto". I was able to get half of this recipe into a 9.5x9.5 dish, but it was near the top. Not sure how anyone could fit half of this in an 8x8. Secondly, a couple minutes before it was to be "done", I turned on the broiler, waited a few minutes, and stuck the dish back in, uncovered. That gave the bread crumb topping a little bit more crunch (not much, but some). For me and my husband, half of this recipe was WAYYYY more than enough. There are a lot of leftovers, but I'm not really upset about that :)"
"Superb! It was delicious the first time, and I just used the second casserole tonight. I defrosted it longer than recommended and it still took about 80-90 minutes to heat up, but it was just wonderful once it was reheated. This would be great for company or to bring to a potluck."
"I made this and my family loved it. I made it on the stove top instead of in the oven. I also added peas and mushrooms but I made the sauce according to the recipe and it was delicious!"
"Excellent casserole! It's just me, so I was going to halve it, but then decided to share it with a friend and just made one casserole in a 9x13 pan. It was a big casserole!!!! More than filled the pan! I think next time, I will halve it and then bake it in a 2-1/2 quart baking dish. Loved the flavor of the pesto!!"
"Easy and really tasty. It got my husband to eat spinach! Huge!"
"A delicious recipe! I used bow tie pasta instead of penne to have a cuter look lol! I will for sure be making this again!"
"This was really good and so quick to make. I didn't have crushed tomatoes so I used a 14 1/2 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes and that worked fine. We eat small portions so this made 3 8-x-8 casseroles for us. I lined my casserole with plastic wrap, a sheet going in each direction and extending beyond the sides, filled the casserole and then brought the extended pieces up to wrap the casserole ingredients. Finally, I wrapped it all in aluminum foil and labeled it for the freezer. To prepare, unwrap it and put it in a casserole the night before it is to be served and thaw in the fridge overnight. It takes up less room in the freezer and frees the casserole to use in the meantime."
"This was easy to make and very tasty. All of the ingredients are readily available unlike some other recipes that I have tried. I didn't have 2% milk, so I used 1% and it turned out fine. Love that the recipe includes another night's meal. I did have to cook it longer than stated, and took the cover off for the last 10 minutes hoping to crisp up the breadcrumbs which didn't happen. This was the only thing about the recipe that I didn't like as they were somewhat soggy. I might try mixing the breadcrumbs with butter next time to see if that will help."