I was looking for a casserole recipe using chicken and pasta. After looking through dozens of recipes and searching my freezer and pantry, this is what I came up with last week. It is very simple and the roasted vegetables add the perfect smokey flavor.
1/2 to 1 pound pasta, spaghetti or linguine
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, left whole
1 yellow onion, sliced thick
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne*
Salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
Lightly grease a casserole dish, and line a baking sheet with foil.
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water. Drain and transfer to casserole.
Place the tomatoes, skin side up on the baking sheet, along with the whole garlic cloves and onion. Broil, for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes, garlic, and onion are softened and have begun to blacken. Remove from the oven, cool and, dice. Turn the oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until well combined and slightly browned. Slowly pour in the milk and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens just a bit. Once the sauce thickens, turn off the heat and slowly stir in 2 cups of cheese, a little at a time, until melted. Stir in the chicken broth until the sauce is the consistency of gravy. Stir in the diced vegetables, along with the cumin, and cayenne. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Add salt and black pepper to taste, and stir in the shredded cooked chicken. Pour the sauce into the cooked spaghetti. Cover with the remaining cheeses.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Serve with Garlic Bread and a side salad for a nice complete meal.
*For an added kick add a couple of jalapeno peppers halved and added to the roasting vegetables.