I don’t know why I am on a chicken and ground beef kick this spring, but I can’t seem to talk myself out of using one of these 2 rather ordinary meats in most of the recipes I am working up lately. So much so, that a hunk of smoked salmon I have in my refrigerator is giving me the evil eye every time I open the refrigerator door. And with every good reason. It keeps whispering that it too would make into a tasty dish if only I would take my eyes off the more plebian chicken and ground beef for even an evening! (I hate it when an ingredient is right! But I still seem to be focusing on lean chicken and ground beef as choice ingredients in both casseroles and salads.)
So for at least the foreseeable future, I am going to be offering more recipes that feature these 2 wonderful and readily available protein sources.
I also have been working on low fat, low calorie, and terribly nutritious recipes. Well let me just state right up front – this is not one of them! This is an in-your-face, all the way, super rich, decadent, and not every day kind of indulgence. The sauce is so rich that you really won’t believe how easy it is to prepare. And in combination with the prosciutto, diced chicken, and spinach (at least spinach is healthy), you and your family/guests are in for a culinary treat.
So next time you want a casserole that can be prepared ahead of time and is sure to impress your family and friends, if they don’t have a coronary while eating it that is, feature this dish at your next get-together.
The bones of the recipe come from the Group Recipes site with just a tiny embellishment from me.
- ¼ c. (4 T.) unsalted butter
- ½ of a 5 oz. pkg. of thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
- ¼ small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- ¼ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ c. chicken broth
- 1½ c. milk
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 c. chopped cooked chicken breast meat
- 1 c. shredded imported Gruyère cheese
- ½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ of a 9-oz. pkg. fresh baby spinach leaves
- 8 oz. thick egg noodles, cooked al dente
- paprika, garnish, opt.
In a large Dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat. Add prosciutto and fry until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside to drain. Add the onion to the same pan and cook over low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Whisk in the flour, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the broth, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg – whisking until smooth. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in the cooked chicken, Gruyère cheese, mozzarella cheese, and half of the Parmesan cheese; stirring until well combined. Stir in the uncooked spinach and the cooked noodles. Adjust seasoning.
Spoon mixture into a lightly buttered large casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake uncovered in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Note: Can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated or frozen up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw completely in refrigerator before cooking. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before baking. (Take out of refrigerator about 1 hour before you plan to place it in the oven.)