Chipotle Chicken Pasta Casserole

Chipotle Chicken Pasta Casserole

Cazuela de Pasta con Pollo y Chipotle
6 to 8 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Casserole, chicken, chipotles in adobo, mexican crema, Monterrey Jack cheese, mozzarella, Oaxaca cheese, onion, pasta, pati's mexican table, Tomatoes
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Chipotle Chicken Pasta Casserole recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 4, Episode 7 “Cooking with the Fans”


  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, divided, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste to season chicken
  • 2 tablespoons sauce from chipotles in adobo, or to taste
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded, or to taste, optional
  • 1 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound penne or elbow pasta
  • 3 cups chicken broth, homemade or store bought
  • 2 cups grated melty cheese, such as Oaxaca, Monterey Jack or mozzarella, 8 ounces
  • 1 ripe Mexican avocado, halved, pitted, meat scooped out and cut into slices (optional for garnish)
  • Mexican crema, Latin-style cream, crème fraiche or sour cream (optional for garnish)

To Prepare

  • Place the tomatoes and garlic in a medium (3-quart) saucepan and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and simmer until the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked and the skins have started to come off, about 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes and garlic, along with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, to a blender or food processor. Once it has cooled slightly, add the onion, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, adobo sauce, and chipotle chile if using, and puree until smooth.
  • Sprinkle chicken with oregano, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large, deep and thick casserole or skillet set over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the chicken thighs about 2 to 3 minutes per side until browned. Remove from skillet, reserve in a bowl.
  • Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into the casserole, set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pasta. Fry the pasta for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until browned, but not burnt, and it smells toasty. Pour the tomato puree over the pasta. It will jump all over the casserole, so you may want to use the lid as a shield over the casserole. Stir, cover partially and let the sauce cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it darkens and cooks into a thick puree consistency.
  • Nest the browned chicken thighs in the pasta, pour the chicken broth on top, stir gently, cover tightly, reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Remove the lid, sprinkle the cheese all over the pasta and place the casserole uncovered in the oven. Bake anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese has completely melted and begun to lightly brown. Serve hot. You may garnish with avocado slices and Mexican crema. Cut into thick slices and serve as you would a cake, since there will be a light crust on the bottom and sides and top.

102 comments on “Chipotle Chicken Pasta Casserole

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  1. I made this today and it is really amazing!! I only added 1 1/2 adobe peppers, it was a bit much for us but it gave it such good flavor–I will add that again when I make it! I used shredded chicken this time cuz that’s all I had, can only imagine that it will be even better with the chicken thighs! I think I used more than the recommended tomatoes- right now I have so many that I wanted to use the bowlful on my counter – fresh from my garden – so I used only 2 cups of the chicken broth. Okay and I will never make any type of pasta without frying it in oil first!!! OMG – that made this dish go over the top even with my shredded chicken! LOVE LOVE that idea & way of cooking pasta, the nutty smell and taste it brought to this dish – so good! Pati I love watching your tv shows and using your recipes, so easy to follow and so delicious! Thank you!!!

    1. Awesome Shelley! So glad to read you really felt the difference in the dish by frying the pasta, it really gives it a ton a flavor. Gracias!

  2. This recipe is a keeper! It came together really quickly and I love how Pati has taught me to use my blender for more than just smoothies. Toasting dry pasta is new to me, but my mexican husband was happy to see it! It’s just like toasting other grains before you cook them. We eat spicy and I think I might add another chipotle next that crazy?
    Thanks Pati for another great recipe!

  3. I finally made this dish, and it was a huge success. I made a few substitutions, based on what I had on hand. I used a 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes in lieu of the fresh tomatoes. I also added quartered mushrooms. It all went together beautifully and my kids were humming as they ate (a good sign)!

  4. My Grand Daughter, who is 10, and I watched this episode and went right to the store for ingredients. It was such a success that everyone had 2 helpings. This is a Make Again Recipe. But we were wondering…what was the desert you took to the viewers house? I know it was a marble dessert but was out of the room when you said the name of it.

  5. Hi Pati –

    I love the taste of Chipotle and this was a good recipe. Chicken perfect – but did not get the crust even though I held back on the chicken stock. I made this for my husband who is from Mexico City and had restaurants and flauteria’s ithere and he enjoyed the pasta very much. By the way, he becomes a US Citizen this Wednesday, 24JUL19. I enjoy your shows and hope someday, if you come to Houston, we can meet!

    Best Regards
    Mr. Kim L. Kingsbury

  6. I made this last weekend. What a treat! I used gluten-free pasta. The chipotle peppers give it just the right amount of kick, and the flavors work together perfectly. The chicken thighs are so tender. I didn’t have a casserole big enough for a whole pound of pasta, plus I’m single and don’t need to cook that much pasta for me, so I used 8 ounces of pasta and cut the chicken stock down to 1.5 cups. I used a 12″ iron skillet. Pati, your recipes never let me down. You expand my palate, and stretch my Mexican culinary skills!

  7. This was delicious but I am wondering what we might have done wrong. After cooking on the stovetop, our pan was still very wet. There was no way it was going to form any type of light crust with only 10-12 minutes in the oven, so we simmered it longer on the stovetop to remove more liquid. Even after simmering longer and then adding the cheese and baking, it wasn’t possible to cut into slices. Has anyone else experienced this? I liked the flavor, but I would like to have it be closer to the consistency of when we watched this episode. Maybe use less chicken broth? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

  8. This looks so delicious! It’s interesting because the tomato sauce really reminds me of a similar version my stepmom makes with fresh tomatoes whenever she makes meat sauce for pasta (which is one of my favorites, too 😉 ). I had a question, though. So none of the pans I have in my kitchen are oven-safe. Would it still work if I do all the stove methods first (Sautéing the chicken, pasta, then simmering in the sauce until everything’s cooked) and then transferring to a baking sheet to put in the oven?

  9. My kids get so excited whenever they find out I’m making this for dinner. Thank you so much for sharing this as it has become one of our family’s favorite recipes.

  10. This is a yummy dish as it is but I also like to make it with ground beef. I brown the beef with Pati’s seasonings and then drain off the fat. It is then added to the casserole before it goes in the oven stirred into the pasta. Wonderful flavor!

  11. Patti,
    I don’t know if you remember me but I contacted you after seeing you make this recipe on TV. I made it for my church ministry to feed the poor in our area and it was an amazing success. We fed over 120 needy people in our community with your recipe. I am making it again after almost a year and just wanted you to know how much our guest and we volunteers loved it.

    1. Oh thank you for letting me know, John! I’m so happy to hear that everyone loved it…and I hope you have another successful year.

  12. Hello Pati 😁

    Anoche cocine está delicia y estuvo fabulosa. Thomas mi esposo está feliz que me este incursionando en la cocina con tus recetas. He tenido que modificar los tiempos y temperaturas de cocimiento ya que tengo estufa eléctrica, se lleva un poquito más de tiempo. Pero el sabor de tus recetas es fenomenal.
    Ahorita ando medio mal por the allergies y mi paladar is a little bit off. Así que puse chipotle de más. Thomas me dijo, mi amor está medio picoso no crees? Y pues yo no lo sentía hasta minutos después que los labios me comenzaron a arder 😰. Pero aún así fue una cena deleitable¡¡¡¡
    Thomas que es americano y no acostumbrado al picante se lo comió todo¡¡¡¡ tomé y tomé agua pero se lo acabo 😄

    Gracias por tus recetas, ahora que tienes tu página en español mi mamá va a comenzar a preparar tus platillos. Ella vive en México así que puede encontrar sin problema todos los ingredientes 👍

    Saludos desde San Antonio, Tx

  13. Hey pati! I’m 16 and I made this dish twice and it is as you would say phenomenal !! Making it for my mothers birthday and I really hope she enjoys it.

  14. I had a neighbor give me many tomatoes and decided to put this method to the test. I kept my recipe Italian using only garlic and basil and used an imersion blender. I also cooked some chicken sausage with feta and spinach and used small shells, cooking them how you describe. I used mozzarella to top. I’m about to take the dish out the oven and have a very good feeling! Thank you for the inspiration, Pati. My wife and I just discovered your show and have added it to the DVR! ¡Que pase un buen dia!

  15. Can this be made ahead, frozen, and reheated? If so, at what point should I stop with the recipe and finish later?
    Just saw this episode and cannot wait to try it.

    1. Yes, absolutely. You can make it up to the point before you bake it in the oven – or before you add the cheese – let it cool, cover, freeze, and pick it up from there once you take it out of the freezer.

  16. This was a tremendous meal. My wife made it in her new large size French made enameled cast iron braiser. It was great. The thighs could be cut with a fork. She used Monterey Jack cheese – good choice. Our history with canned chipotles in adobo were too spicy for our taste. Instead she used 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder. She used penne pasta, which I like to spear with a fork – playing with my food 🙂

    There was no crust, but we prefer it not to have a crust. Since she used chipotle powder, maybe next time she will add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar.

    Thanks for the great recipe. It is definitely a keeper!

    1. What a great adaptation, Ross! For me, there is no substitute for Chipotles in Adobo… I am so wild about them. If you find the chiles too spicy… you can always only use the adobo sauce. So happy to hear you found a keeper!

  17. On your fan favorites episode you used 2 chiles chipotle but your recipes calls for 1 so which one is it ? (I like spicy)

    1. 2 if you like spicy! It’s up to you! Just remember… you can also add more heat but you can never take it out, so I like to taste as I go. 😉

  18. Thank you for including the weight of cheese! It is easier to weigh out shredded cheese and get a consistent amount rather than putting shredded into a cup measure and hoping it is not too loose or tightly packed.

  19. I made this with left over pork loin which I sliced to the size of chicken thighs. I warmed up the pork in the skillet before I cooked the pasta and it was delicious!!! Thank you, Chef Pati!

  20. Turned out more like a goulash. No crust formed after baking it for 15 minutes. Used chicken breasts instead of thighs. The spice left a weird, bitter after taste.

    1. ​Sorry to hear! Since you used chicken breasts, which are juicier, it may have needed at least another 10 minutes in the oven to dry up. In terms of the bitter taste, please check your spices, are they old? Did you use a brand of chipotles which flavor you like on its own?​ Let me know!! I want to help make this right! =)

    1. You can really play here Betty! You can use shrimp (just sear for a few seconds per side), chorizo (cook until lightly browned), any cut of diced meat (sear a couple minutes per side). You can always add vegetables as well!

  21. Thank you. My question concerns the liquid that already is in the canned tomatoes. Will that extra liquid in the can make a difference in the ratio to pasta? Do I use the same amount of chicken stock that the recipe calls for?

  22. That is what I did, and when my wife comes home work she will love it and me too! Thank you Pati Jinich you ROCK!

  23. Just made this for dinner tonight! YUM! I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts (they were on sale), but big ones, and cooked for same amount of time you suggested. Perfect bite when you get a bit of chicken, pasta, sour cream and fresh avocado! Family says this goes on the “make again” list!

  24. Pati, i love the sound of this recipe however i cant eat spicy foods. My stomach cant take the spice any sugestions. I want to make this chipotle chicken pasta casserole today

  25. Hi Pati,
    Tonight I made this dish tonight for supper. I had to half the recipe. If I had made the whole recipe would have way to much for just my husband and I. I only used 1 tsp of Chipotle sauce and no chipotle’s at all. However I must tell you this was the best ever pasta recipe todate! I thank you for sharing and I posted my picture of my supper tonight along with your recipe on my facebook page for all to copy..
    Thank you again,

  26. P.S. Your show aires via PBS’ CreateTV in Gainesville, FL on WUFT, good luck Joe

    Thanks again Mrs Pati for giving us such easy to follow recipes. Love Mexican food but never knew how to cook it.

  27. Love, love, love your show Pati. Learned a new method of cooking pasta and making this recipe for dinner guests tomorrow. Looks scrumptious — Can’t wait to taste it!!

    Joe, I’m in metro Atlanta and watch the show on “Create TV (” via PBS. You can try searching for CreateTV in your area — hope this helps.

  28. I discovered your site and I will be using quite a few of your recipes. I already make Tamales, enchiladas, my own sauces out of Cascabels, or Habaneros, or Trinidad Scorpions and will be looking forward to cooking your dishes. I would like some help from you in finding your show or making it available around Gainesville, Fl. I am a 36 year restaurant mgr involved in varied styles and a Texan to boot. I have eaten Mexican/Tex Mex since I was a child and love it. I also grow many kinds of peppers to use which helps a lot. Keep at it, your cooking motivates and inspires me to keep cooking different items and trying on the wife!!!
    Again many thanks in advance for the info and ongoing show


  29. We tried this recipe tonight and it was wonderful! So easy and so tasty. I always brown my rice but I had never browned pasta, wow! What a difference. Love your show, you are so delightful.

  30. Hi Pati,

    Saw your show earlier this month with the chipolte chicken pasta, as always, looks awesome! Coincidentally, we’ve been looking to add a nice cast iron enameled brassier. Quick question, was the brassier you used on the show 2.5, 3 or 4 quart???

  31. Hi Pati,

    My husband and I just started watching your show and decided to try this recipe. It turned out really bland and the pasta was WAY overcooked. What did we do wrong? The heat from the chipotle pepper kept it edible but I’m not sure how we messed this up so badly. 🙁

    1. Many things could have happened
      -Under seasoned chicken: add salt, oregano and black pepper to taste, don’t be shy with spices
      -Tomatoes have to be ripe, also season that tomato broth as well.
      -Use good and well seasoned chicken broth or stock.
      – Did you taste the cheese that you used? Many cheeses in stores these days are way too mild. Choose a brand that gives you a cheese that tastes!
      Hope this helps… should turn out phenomenal!

  32. Hi pati, I saw your show this weekend and you made Chipotle chicken pasta casserole. It looked so good I had to try it, I am allergic to tomatoes,so used roasted red peppers instead and it is awesome! Thanks for sharing your Mexican table!

  33. I watch your show all the time. This last Saturday your show was on all day.. YUM!!! I made the chicken and pasta cassarole. I love your recipes because you layer flavors instead using tons of cumin like most Mexican recipes I find on the internet. I like to cook and use recipes as more of a guide with suggestions. But because I wanted a real Mexican meal I followed your recipe except I did not use chipolte in adobo. I used a sauce I made with dried Pasilla peppers. It was kind of bland and I know it is because my sauce was bland. Do you have any suggestions to flavor my bland pepper sauce. The chicken was amazing even by itself. Thank you.

    1. Hola Tiffany, Thank you for watching! Next time, try quickly toasting your chiles on a hot comal or skillet to bring out more flavor.

  34. Pati, after watching this episode, my husband ran right out to buy the ingredients to make this recipe for guests that were visiting the next day. It was devoured by adults and children alike! Thanks for the inspiration and the fantastic recipe. Can’t wait to try out more 🙂

  35. Pati .. I just love your program and everything about you.. I am a Mexican American woman just married an Americano who loves Mexico City and everything about our culture .. The cuisine is amazing he says and loves learning how to cook with you .. Gracias Pati

  36. You’re welcome, and thanks for making it. Manuel and I marvel at how refreshing it is- he sees places he remembers fondly and we enjoy seeing your love and respect for the people featured on your show. Our baseball caps off to you! 😀

  37. Hi Pati, thanks again for the recipe. We made it as written and our guests enjoyed it, but I feel like adding a couple of charred peeled poblanos to the vegetable blend and a couple TB of tomato paste would have amped up the flavor even more. We love your show!

  38. Great to see the series going strong, looking better than ever! We’re trying the pasta this weekend for guests. Thank you, Pati, for highlighting beautiful Mexico locations and respecting the good people and traditions there, always in a positive and dignified way. You rock 🙂

  39. Hi Patie: I am 791/2 yrs young. I still cook for myself. I love your show,I want to try to figure out smaller sizes for your recipes. I live alone and need smaller recipes. Would you some time do recipes that fee 2. I would have just enough for two meals. So glad you are back on PBS. Thank you and God Bless you and your Family. Sherley

  40. For this chicken and pasta casserole; should the dry pasta be cooked first before frying in the oil?