Chicken and Pasta Bake Recipe
This cheese-topped pasta bake contains pan-fried chicken, bacon and onion, penne pasta, and chopped mushrooms and semi-dried tomatoes in a generous amount of creamy sauce.
We use raw chicken and cook it before mixing it with the other ingredients. If you would prefer to purchase cooked chicken, or if you have leftover cooked chicken, we recommend that you use 250 grams chicken. Since cooked chicken won't need to be pan-fried, you can omit two teaspoons of the oil from the recipe.
Serves about 4 - 6.
We use a 250ml measuring cup for all of our recipes.
160g (1 1/2 cups) dried penne pasta
Salt, to taste
15ml (3 teaspoons) oil
1 small (about 120g) onion, peeled and very finely chopped
60g shortcut bacon, finely chopped (remove rind if present)
350g chicken tenderloins, breast or thigh fillets, trimmed of any fat or tendons and cut into small bite-sized pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
100g (1 1/4 cups) roughly chopped button mushrooms
60g (1/4 cup) butter
38g (1/4 cup) plain flour
375ml (1 1/2 cups) chicken stock
335ml (1 1/3 cups) milk
40g (1/2 cup, lightly packed) grated tasty cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
80g (1/2 cup) chopped semi-dried tomatoes
40g (scant 1/2 cup) finely chopped green onions (green shallots)
60g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) grated mozzarella cheese
60g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) grated tasty cheddar cheese
Cook pasta in a large (at least 2.75 litre capacity) saucepan of salted boiling water according to package directions or until just tender. Drain pasta and set aside. Rinse saucepan and set aside until required for sauce.
Heat one teaspoon of the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (about seven minutes). Transfer onion and bacon mixture to a small bowl.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining two teaspoons of oil to the pan and add chicken. Fry, stirring occasionally, until chicken is lightly browned and cooked through (about six minutes).
Add garlic and mushroom to the pan, stir to combine, and then remove pan from the heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius (210 degrees Celsius fan-forced). If you are not using a fan-forced oven, adjust the oven rack to the centre of the oven. © exclusivelyfood.com.au
In the saucepan used to boil the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and stir constantly. Once the mixture bubbles, continue cooking and stirring for about 40 seconds.
Then add the chicken stock and milk. Increase heat to medium-high. Don't worry about any lumps in the mixture, they should disappear while stirring (if not, they can be strained out once you have finished cooking the sauce). Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. At this point, if you tilt the saucepan and use the spoon to push some of the sauce aside, you should be able to see the sauce bubbling on the base of the saucepan. Remove from heat and add 40g tasty cheese, salt and pepper to the saucepan.
Stir to combine.
Add bacon and onion mixture, chicken mixture, semi-dried tomatoes, green onion and pasta to the sauce.
Stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a 2.25 litre (9 cup) capacity ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle with combined mozzarella and tasty cheese.
Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes, until hot in the centre and golden brown.
Allow to stand for five minutes before serving.
Store any leftover pasta bake in a covered container in the refrigerator. Suitable to freeze. © www.exclusivelyfood.com.au