Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chicken and Olive Pasta Casserole

From Emeril's Potluck by Emeril Lagasse

2 chickens (about 3 pounds each, quartered)
2 T plus 21/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound pasta, such as angel hair or linguine, cooked and drained
1 T plus 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
6 T unsalted butter
6 T flour
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/2 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence
2 T chopped pickled jalapenos
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Put the chickens in a large heavy pot with 2 T salt and the cayenne. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the chickens are very tender, about 1 hour. Remove the chickens from the pot and reserve 3 cups of the stock. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt a 1 tablespoon olive oil to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and rinse under cold water. Toss the past with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and set aside.

When the chicken is cool, remove the meat from the bones, discarding the rest.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the butter and flour in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and whisk to blend. Cook, whisking for 2 minutes. Add the onions and celeryand cook, stirring, until just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add the reserved chicken stock and whisk to blend. Cook stirring, until smooth and slightly thickened. Add the chicken and olives and season with the remaining salt, the Essence, and the jalapenos. Remove from the heat. Add 1 cup Parmesan and stir to blend.

Spread half of the pasta in a 9X13 baking dish. Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the pasta and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Spread the remaining pasta over the Parmesan and top with the remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Bake until bubbly and the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Remover from the oven and serve warm.

**I used one large can of chicken because I was too lazy to cook the whole ones.
**I also have no Essence so I just sprinkled paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and crushed red pepper until I thought it looked good.
**I didn't have any celery so I used half a bag of frozen chopped green peppers and a teaspoon of celery salt.