Chipotle Chicken Pasta Casserole

Chipotle Chicken Pasta Casserole
Print Recipe
6 to 8 servings Cazuela de Pasta con Pollo y Chipotle
Ingredients
  • 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 degrees.
  • 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.
Ingredients
  • 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 degrees.
  • 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.

59 comments on “Chipotle Chicken Pasta Casserole

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  1. 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!

  2. 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. 😉

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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,
    Sherry

  11. 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.

  12. 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 (createtv.com)” via PBS. You can try searching for CreateTV in your area — hope this helps.

  13. 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

    Joe

  14. 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.

  15. 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???

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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.
    Tiffany

    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.

  19. 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 🙂

  20. 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

  21. 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! 😀

  22. 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!

  23. 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 🙂

  24. 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

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