Casseroles get a bad rap sometimes.
I think they are often thought of as calorie bombs loaded with cream soups and mystery meats. And sometimes they are... but they don't have to be! Casseroles = comfort, which is why they are the go-to meal brought to new parents, those recovering from illness, or grieving families.
I love a creamy dish of comfort as much as the next girl so I was stoked to find this lightened up version of a traditional chicken tetrazzini. This recipe makes two pans - you can either freeze one for a later date or pass it on to another family in need of a big pan of comfort.
1 pound pasta, any shape you prefer
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry sherry
2/3 cup flour
3 (14.5 ounce) cans fat free, low sodium chicken broth
2 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, divided
1/2 cup 1/3 less fat cream cheese
4 cups chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie works well)
1 slice white bread
Preheat oven to 350 and lightly coat two 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dishes with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, pepper, salt, and mushrooms. Saute for 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry and cook 1 minute.
Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Gradually add the flour to the pan and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Add 1 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese and the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the cream cheese melts. Add the cooked pasta and chicken, stir until blended. Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans.
Place the slice of bread in a food processor and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form. Combine the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over pasta.**
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes.
**If wanting to freeze for a later date: after assembling the casserole, do not bake. Instead, let cool completely in the fridge then wrap well with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy duty foil and store in freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, thaw completely in the fridge (about 24 hours). Preheat oven to 350. Remove foil and set aside. Remove plastic wrap and discard. Cover casserole again with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 1 hour or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes.
Source: Cooking Light