Life without tomato sauce is no fun. This means we have to get very creative with flavor when it comes to making any pasta dish. We haven't found too many pasta dishes that have been worthy of tasting better then tomato sauce until this one. This makes a huge 9x13 inch dish, so we ate on it for a couple of days. Most of the time leftovers are pushed to the back of the fridge even though we say we are going to eat it again later, it never happens because other fresh meals have been created and took its place. Not so with this baked chicken and spinach spaghetti. We literally ate it the next night and for lunch two days after that.
This is loaded with flavor from the creamy mozzarella sauce and chunks of chicken, and has the added veggie bonus! Sure you can see the spinach but it's hard to even detect it's in there by flavor. Hardly any spinach flavor? That makes it kid friendly!
What do you need?
1 pound spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds, cooked according to the directions and rinse (other pasta can be used)
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded - I boil up 4 boneless skinless breasts
½ cup butter
2 cloves chopped garlic
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups milk
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 10oz package frozen chopped spinach - thawed and drained
What do you do?
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. In a medium sauce pot melt the butter over medium to low heat. Once melted add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and salt; simmer until bubbly.
3. Mix in broth and milk, bring almost to a boil. Stir in 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is thoroughly melted.
4. Stir in your pepper, oregano and basil.
5. In the same large pot you cooked your pasta, add the pasta back in after draining and rinsing. Add the shredded chicken, the spinach (making sure to pull it apart in to tiny pieces), the ricotta and stir until combined.
6. Mix in ¾ of the mozzarella sauce and stir to coat.
7. Pour the pasta into your baking dish, top with the remaining cheese sauce, shredded mozzarella, and grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until it's bubbly.