I have seen and heard about other Southern recipes for chicken spaghetti, but Craig Claiborne always swore that the dish was created by his mother and talked about up and down the Mississippi Delta. The elaborate preparation was his pride and joy, and there can be no doubt that it is a masterpiece of Southern casserole art. (The only explanation for the name is the dish’s remote similarity to classic Italian spaghetti sauce.) The casserole is, without question, something of an ordeal to prepare—Craig used to spend an entire day on the job—so to justify all the time and effort, wait for the occasion to invite at least a dozen hungry guests. With the casserole, you need to serve no more than a tart green salad and plenty of sturdy red wine.
Place the chicken and giblets in a kettle with enough water to cover and add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer till tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken and, when cool enough to handle, shred the meat and set aside. Return the skin and bones to the pot,
Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a medium saucepan and cook down over moderate heat to half the original volume, stirring often.
In a large skillet, melt the remaining
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti till just tender, drain, and rinse under cold running water.
Spoon enough of the meat sauce over the bottom of the prepared casserole to cover it lightly and add about one-third of the cooked spaghetti. Add one-third of the shredded chicken, another layer of meat sauce, and a layer of one-third of the cheddar. Continue making layers, ending up with a layer of spaghetti topped with a thin layer of meat sauce and cheddar. Pour in about
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