I can't remember exactly when I first ran across The Prairie Woman's Chicken Spaghetti recipe, but it quickly became one of my favorites despite the fact that it has few "issues" for the way I cook. First off, it calls for canned soup, which I don't use. Second, it calls for pimientos and I never have those things in my pantry. Third, if I'm going to cook an expensive whole organic chicken in water, there is no way I'm using the resulting broth to cook spaghetti (even though I'm sure it's very, very good)! So I revamped the recipe in to a homemade wonder of goodness.
When I made this the other night I used really good all natural white cheddar cheese. We just recently finished up all the Kraft cheese in the freezer and this was my first foray using "good" cheese. Wow. What a difference it makes! I've read that when it comes to cheese it is better to splurge on good cheese and just use less when cooking. I can officially tell that advice is spot on. The white cheddar does, however, make the dish less visually pleasing, but it tastes superb! Just put a nice big green salad next to the spaghetti.
I usually double the recipe and make two casseroles -- one for dinner and one to freeze.
Chicken Spaghetti Revamp
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken in to 2 inch pieces
2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
6 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper (I like red)
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups grated white cheddar cheese, separated
In a large heavy oven proof pot (like a dutch oven) cook spaghetti in salted water just until al dente. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Drain pasta and set aside. In pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Saute onion and peppers until onion is just turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup chicken stock and then the milk. Keep whisking to avoid lumps. Allow to cook and thicken for about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup stock or to desired consistency (you don't want it thin, but not super thick like gravy either). Stir in chicken, spaghetti, Lawry's, cayenne pepper, 1 cup cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees until warm and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes.