Homemade chicken spaghetti casserole is a great, cheesy casserole that will become a family favorite. Tender chicken with tasty homemade marinara sauce mixed with spaghetti then baked until bubbly and golden brown.
I have tried other baked spaghetti recipes before, but the recipes always had too much pasta that was mushy. And most of them used a jar of sauce or cream sauce. They were just wrong.
I started with my wonderful chicken marinara with few changes. I then undercooked 8 oz of spaghetti a bit. Mixed in some grated Parmesan and topped with some mozzarella and more grated parmesan.
It is then baked until browned. It came out perfect in about 25 minutes.
A very strong 4 with the potential of being somebody's favorite recipe.
The recipe as written has you cooking your own chicken using skinless boneless chicken breasts, but you can you other chicken. Pre-cooked shredded rotisserie chicken is fine. You need 2-3 cups.
I like my pasta to have a bit of "body." read that as not overcooked and mushy. Even cooked to al denta, it can turn mushy when baked in sauce. I suggest cooking a little short of the al denta instructions for the pasta you use.
You don't have to use spaghetti. Use the pasta you want. I do not suggest using whole wheat or gluten-free pasta since they tend to fall apart in recipes like this.
You need about 4 cups of marinara sauce for this recipe as written. If you have a jar or other sauce, feel free to use it, but you will love mine, and it is not that much work.
My normal garlic marinara has some crushed red pepper, but it is optional here.
I like to add some cheese to the sauce in casseroles so it will hold together better and add a bit of taste.
Preheat the oven to 350° convection or 375° conventional.
Trim, pat dry, and dice two medium chicken breast. About 1-1 ½ pounds. You can use pre-cooked chicken, and you will need 2-3 cups.
Chop a medium onion.
When the oil is hot, add 2-3 cloves of garlic, the chicken and the onion. Cook until chicken is done and cuts easily with a wooden spoon. About 8 to 9 minutes. Break apart any large pieces of chicken. If using precooked chicken, then don't add the chicken until the onion is translucent.
Add two 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes, and one 6 oz can tomato paste, 2 teaspoons dry basil (or 2 tablespoons fresh basil), 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional), ½ teaspoon oregano. Simmer over low heat while you cook the pasta.
Cook 8 oz of pasta according to instructions on the box for al denta or a bit less.
Add ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese to the sauce and mixed well. Mix the sauce into the pasta and move to the casserole dish.
This fits nicely in a 2 ½ quart size, which is about 8X12 inches. Top with ½ cup each of mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese. You may cover and refrigerate at this point.
Bake until sauce is bubbling and top brown. About 25 minutes for me. Longer if you had refrigerated the dish.
Do you want more recipes from 101 Cooking for Two? Sign up for the newsletter and get all posts delivered straight to your inbox!
Originally Published September 29, 2012. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.