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Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles

Creamy, flavorful and so easy to fix, this meal-in-one will wow family and friends. Get ready for recipe requests for this easy chicken casserole! —Laura Kayser, Ankeny, Iowa
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min.
  • Makes
    2 casseroles (6 servings each)


  • 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
  • 6 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 4 cups 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 2 greased 8-in. square baking dishes. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil; sprinkle over casseroles.
  • Cover and freeze 1 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.
Nutrition Facts
1-1/3 cups: 612 calories, 30g fat (13g saturated fat), 111mg cholesterol, 829mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 42g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Googeegaga
    Nov 5, 2019

    Delicious! My family loved this. Great with homemade alfredo sauce!

  • Forrest
    Jul 22, 2019

    This was tasty and kid friendly. I chose to put my extra in gallon bags for my husband to make when I don't feel like cooking or I'm away.

  • tennis-twin
    Nov 8, 2018

    This was delicious!! Brought it to my daughter's house for dinner and everyone LOVED it!! My daughter requested this recipe to serve to some friends that she was having over - she liked it that much!!

  • PrplMonky5
    Feb 3, 2018

    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 :)Update: I cut the recipe into 1/4 and that was a good amount for my husband and I, with leftovers for each of us.

  • No_Time_To_Cook
    Dec 7, 2017

    This was very good and really easy to make. I made the recipe exactly per the instructions... used rotisserie chicken from Costco already deboned.

  • Melongal
    Oct 19, 2017

    This was awesome! Made it for company, and the guys went back for seconds! I baked boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 lb) plus 2 chicken breast cutlets, and this was just under the 6 cups, and was plenty. After reading other posts, I made minor tweaks. I used Hunts fire roasted tomatoes, undrained, and used crushed Ritz crackers in place of the seasoned bread crumbs. I found that Classico has an 8.1 oz size of Pesto. Made a very full 9X9 plus a very full 8X8 for the freezer.

  • suzanne2garcia
    Jul 11, 2017

    Very nice change from the usual chicken and pasta casserole. Very flavorful, didn't have pesto so used some finely shredded basil, worked great!

  • Carol
    Jun 2, 2017

    Very good. Made several times for potlucks and always asked for recipe and to bring next time.

  • Debglass11
    Feb 22, 2017

    Good casserole to feed a family! Once you've cooked the penne, everything else is just mixed together, so it's a very easy dish to make. Would have liked it to be a bit more saucy, so next time will increase the Alfredo and tomatoes. Since I'm not a huge fan of seasoned bread crumbs as a topping, next time I'll try panko bread crumbs tossed with a little parmesan and fresh parsley. The spinach is a nice addition. I like the fact that you can make one and freeze one!

  • krucook
    Jan 17, 2017

    My family enjoyed this . I've also used the mexican mix of cheeses they sell at Sams Club and that worked well, too. It was what I had on hand one time.