As we head into cooler nights, this dish is perfect comfort food. I used some leftover grilled chicken breast to include some protein in the dish. Use your favorite variety of short pasta to absorb all the sauce. You can use your favorite store bought sauce, but I love to make my own. It tastes so much better and adds such good flavor to the dish.

cheesy saucy and delicious!

Serves 6


for red sauce:

  • 1 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes and juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • Handful fresh basil torn
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

for Béchamel:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups warmed milk
  • 1 cup grated parm

for casserole:

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts
  • 2 ounces prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese mix or mozzarella
  • Parmesan for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup sliced basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 lb short pasta, ziti, rigatoni, fusili


for red sauce:

In a heavy bottom large pan, heat the butter and add onions, garlic and tomato paste. Sauté for several minutes until fragrant and translucent. Add crushed and diced tomatoes, bayleaf, basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer, add balsamic vinegar and cook, covering and reducing to a simmer until slightly reduced and flavors have melded (about one hour at least).

for béchamel:

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium until foamy. Sprinkle flour over and cook, whisking constantly, approximately 1 minute. Gradually whisk in warm milk and bring to a boil, reducing heat, and whisking often, until béchamel thickens and simmers to consistency of a thick cream. Remove from heat and add parmesan whisking until melted. Cover and set aside.

crispy prosciutto:

Heat a small non stick pan with a bit of olive oil on medium heat. Add chopped prosciutto and stir constantly until it begins to crisp. Remove from heat and transfer to paper towels to cool completely. Set aside.

for casserole:

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, as the pasta will continue to cook in the oven. Drain pasta and place back in cooking pot along with béchamel-parmesan mixture, add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese and toss to combine. Then stir in chopped chicken. Add all but about 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce. Transfer to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Dollop remaining cheese atop casserole, along with dollops of remaining red sauce. Sprinkle with crispy prosciutto. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes until bubbly. Remove from oven and garnish with basil and parmesan as desired. Enjoy!