The recipe doesn’t indicate if the tomatoes are supposed to be canned or fresh, so I used a 14-1/2 oz can as well as a few freshly-chopped Campari tomatoes. Once I started cooking the chicken mixture, I knew that 16 oz of linguine would overwhelm this casserole, so I cut back to about 12 oz, and that still was plenty of pasta (you really do want to taste the chicken-tomato mixture). I added salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes to add a little zing.
Oven-Baked Chicken Linguine Haiku: “More like ‘pasta bake’, as oven’s point is just melt. Still, it tasted great.” I guess I’m glad that the title was misleading (in that nothing is actually “baked” and the oven’s only purpose is to re-heat all the items together w/ melty cheese), b/c I enjoyed the ease of arranging this in the morning and fridging it until putting it in the oven at dinnertime.
I broke the linguine into thirds b4 boiling (didn’t relish the idea of us twirling noodles whilst stabbing at chicken when it came time to eat, and when I make again, I’ll probably use a smaller pasta like penne or rotini) and used a can of Italian-seasoned tomatoes for the 2 c. diced tomatoes called for. We really enjoyed this alot, and will look forward to eating it again.
One word of caution. The recipe says to cook the chicken-tomato mixture until the liquid has almost evaporated. Don’t go overboard because the pasta will absorb some of the liquid, and my casserole ended up a little dry. Honestly, had concerns about cheddar cheese (kept thinking parmesan and mozzarella), but it was good. Just be prepared to adjust the seasonings to your tastes, and you’ll be fine. I’m the first reviewer, so none of this is meant to be negative because we did enjoy this dish.
When you bake this pasta casserole, some of the sauce bakes into the pasta, the flavors marry and [!!BAM!!] something wonderful happens. You’ll know what I mean when you try it. Ridiculously good, easy to prepare, kid friendly, reheats well and freezer safe. P.S. you can further simplify this by using rotisserie chicken – You’re welcome ‘ma friends :).
1 (16 ounce) package linguine
1/4 cup olive oil
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