Chicken & Artichoke Baked In A Pie

When I was noodling on the title of this recipe I looked up the word casserole to see what other words represented a similar dish. Here’s what I found for synonyms: goulash, hash, pottage, stew, covered dish, meat pie, pot pie, stroganoff. Well, that didn’t help as I just don’t relate any of those words to describe the recipe I created. So back to the drawing board.

Then I looked up the word casserole and its origins. The Foodies Companion gave a reasonable account:

“The word casserole originally referred to the pan in which the dish was cooked. Casserole is from a French word meaning “sauce-pan”; a large, deep dish used either to cook something in an oven or to serve the food cooked in it. The French word  “casserole”  had been derived from the old Provencal word, “cassa” and the Medieval Latin word, “cattia”, both of these words meaning “ladle”. This seemed to imply that these words were describing a common pot from which everyone shared. French cassoulet, Spanish paella, British pot pies and Italian lasagna, to name only a few, seemed to be derived from this idea. In fact, a recipe, written in Latin, for the precursor of a  famous casserole – macaroni and cheese – is found in the ” Liber de Cucina”. It was written by a person familiar with the Neapolitan court of Charles II of Anjou (1254-1309).” 

Okay, so casseroles have been around a few years. I was trying to avoid using the word casserole so as not to be too old-fashioned. I came up with pie, which doesn’t really describe the dish well either because some people associate pie with a sweet treat and this is a savory dish. Oh well. Call it what you like, this chicken and artichoke dish is a wonderful comfort food type dish. 

I used one torta cut up for the bread ingredient. It has a sourdough like texture.

This sauce is similar to a bechamel. 

Mix all ingredients together and place in a casserole (LOL) dish.

Top with bread cubes, basil and cheese. Oh yeah!

The crispy bread cubes really add a nice crunch to this creamy dish. 

Served with a side dish of green beans – oh so good!

Chicken & Artichoke Baked In A Pie

Yields 6-8 people

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups dry pasta (I used small shells)
  • 4 cups ciabatta bread (I used one large torta roll), cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken breast, (I used pre-cooked rotisserie chicken) cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped or sliced thin
  • 6 ounces (1 jar) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch of pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. PREP: preheat oven to 375° F. Spray baking dish with cooking oil.
  2. Cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water to al dente stage. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water.
  3. Mix ciabatta pieces with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Set aside.
  4. Melt the remainder of butter in a frypan. add flour and whisk to form roux. Add in milk and cream, and keep whisking until thick-ish and bubbly.
  5. Turn down the heat and add 1 cup mozzarella and the cream cheese. Whisk to combine.
  6. Stir in chicken, pasta, most of the basil, artichokes, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Mix together all ingredients until well combined. Add reserved pasta water if sauce is too thick.
  7. Transfer ingredients to baking dish and top with buttered bread cubes, the remaining mozzarella and basil.
  8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Notes

Substitute ricotta cheese for cream cheese if you prefer. 

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