Caprese Chicken Pasta Casserole

published Mar 13, 2020
Snapshot Cooking
Caprese Chicken Casserole

This Italian-inspired chicken casserole is packed with all the flavors of a classic caprese salad. Shredded chicken and pasta make it a substantial meal.

Serves6

Prep15 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Caprese chicken casserole
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

Caprese salad is a classic, if decidedly summery, Italian dish. A caprese casserole, on the other hand, can be enjoyed any time of year. It just needs a few tweaks to make it season-appropriate.

First up? The tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are a great stand-in when it’s not tomato season, since they’re bursting with flavor and sweetness all year round. For the cheese, we included the classic mozzarella, but we also mixed in ricotta to make it extra creamy. As for the basil, it gets incorporated in two ways: Dried basil goes into the mix, and fresh basil is scattered on top. A splash of balsamic vinegar rounds it all out.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

To make this casserole main-dish worthy, we’ve bulked it up with pasta and protein-packed chicken. Starting with shredded rotisserie chicken makes this easy enough to whip up on a weeknight, and cooking the pasta in chicken broth infuses it with even more flavor. And while other types of pasta can be used in place of orecchiette, it’s best to use a shape that the ricotta can easily cling to, like small shells or cavatappi. 

I love this dish as is, but for maximum caprese flavor, serve it alongside an arugula salad drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Caprese Chicken Casserole

This Italian-inspired chicken casserole is packed with all the flavors of a classic caprese salad. Shredded chicken and pasta make it a substantial meal.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 8 cups

    unsalted chicken broth

  • 1 pound

    dried orecchiette pasta

  • 1 pint

    cherry tomatoes

  • 2 (8-ounce) containers

    mini fresh mozzarella cheese balls

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 3 cups

    shredded, cooked chicken

  • 1/2 cup

    full-fat ricotta cheese

  • 1 tablespoon

    balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried basil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

  2. Pour 8 cups unsalted chicken broth into a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 pound dried orecchiette and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the following, adding them to the same large bowl: halve 1 pint cherry tomatoes; drain 2 containers mini mozzarella cheese balls; mince 2 garlic cloves.

  3. When the pasta is ready, drain (set a colander into a large bowl if you want to save the broth for another use) and add to the bowl of tomatoes. Add 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper, and toss to combine.

  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake until the cheeses are melted, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.