Chicken Alfredo Penne Casserole with moist chicken, hearty pasta, creamy sauce, and cheese baked into the ultimate pasta bake! Cheesy, tasty, and topped with fresh tomato and basil, it’s a guaranteed dinner favorite.
We love the light, refreshing flavors of angel hair with tomato sauce or lemon garlic shrimp linguine at home during Summer time but come Fall months, we like to switch it up to hearty pasta bakes such as chicken spaghetti, stuffed jumbo shells, and this chicken alfredo casserole.
Because what can be more filling and comforting in cold weather than a hot and bubbly baked pasta casserole loaded with cheese, cheese, and MORE cheese?
How to Make Chicken Alfredo
Chicken Alfredo has three delicious components namely:
- Alfredo sauce made of butter, garlic, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese
- Cooked boneless, skinless chicken which can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried and then sliced into bite-size pieces
- Pasta of choice such as penne, linguine, fettuccine or spaghetti
We are, however, upping the wow factor by combining the three in a casserole dish, topping the mixture with shredded cheese, and baking in the oven until gooey and melty. Served with tomato and basil salsa topping for a fresh layer of flavor, this is the ultimate comfort food!
Although this chicken pasta bake requires a few steps to pull together, it’s really a simple, uncomplicated dish to make. In a pinch, you can use jarred Alfredo sauce and shredded rotisserie chicken and have dinner ready in 30 minutes!
But really, really, follow this recipe from scratch, pretty please! It may take a few more minutes but the luxurious homemade sauce loaded with all the garlic just can’t be beat. Plus, marinating the chicken breasts in Italian dressing makes every morsel so flavorful and worth the effort.
Tips on How to Make Chicken Alfredo Casserole
- For al dente texture, cook the pasta a minute or two shy of package directions as it will continue to cook in the sauce when baked.
- For a smooth, creamy sauce, do not allow the heavy cream to a full boil lest it separates and curdles.
- The 15 to 20 minutes of bake time is assuming the sauce and pasta are still hot when assembled and put in the oven. If at room temperature or refrigerated, add 5 to 10 minutes or until completely heated.
- My previous recipe used 2 cups of sauce but when I retested, I found the dish benefited from increasing to 3 cups as the pasta tends to absorb a lot of liquid as it stands. This jumped the calorie content, of course, but I promise you won’t regret that extra smothering of Alfredo sauce 🙂
- Prefer a crunchy topping than gooey cheese? Use buttered bread crumbs or crushed-up croutons instead.
Watch the Video and See this Yummy Pasta Casserole in Action:
Chicken Alfredo Penne Casserole
- 4 (4 ounces each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes
- 6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 12 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 1 cup Swiss Cheese or Monterey Jack, shredded
- 3/4 cup butter
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- In a small bowl, combine chicken and salad dressing. Marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Cut tomatoes and with a spoon, scoop out seeds and discard. Dice into very small pieces. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, basil and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine and set aside.
- Brush a wide heavy bottomed pan with the canola oil and heat over medium heat. Add chicken breasts in a single layer and pan-grill for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cut into slices and keep warm.
- In a pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta 1 minute shy of package directions. Drain well.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter. When butter begins to melt, add garlic and cook, stirring, regularly, until limp and aromatic.
- Add heavy cream and simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes or until heated.
- Add Parmesan cheese, whisking vigorously until sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a bowl, combine hot pasta and alfredo sauce and toss to combine. Transfer to a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Top with chicken and sprinkle with cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake in a 375 F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted
- Spoon on serving plates and garnish with tomato mixture. Serve hot.