Chicken, Broccoli, and Ziti Casserole
Chicken, broccoli, and ziti tossed in a creamy sauce is such a crowd pleaser that it makes sense to turn it into a crowd-feeding casserole. Our enhanced béchamel packs plenty of flavor, without the heavy richness of the traditional cream sauce.
Why This Recipe Works
Chicken, broccoli, and ziti recipes are such a crowd-pleaser that it makes sense to turn it into a crowd-feeding casserole. We wanted our Chicken, Broccoli, and Ziti Casserole recipe to have it all: moist chicken, crisp-tender broccoli, and firm ziti served in a cheesy sauce that stayed creamy even after baking. We made an enhanced béchamel sauce by sautéing onion, lots of garlic, and red pepper flakes before stirring in flour, milk, and savory chicken broth. The strips of boneless, skinless chicken breast need to be precooked before going into the casserole to prevent the other ingredients from overcooking by the time the chicken is done. Poaching the chicken in the sauce is the best method—it flavors the meat and keeps it moist. To prepare the pasta for the oven, we undercooked it and then rinsed it with cold water to stop any carryover cooking. A final topping of fresh bread crumbs, minced garlic, and Asiago is as flavorful as the casserole itself.