Monday, March 1, 2010

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake

What I love most about this creamy chicken pasta bake recipe is that it's so versatile. You can pretty much add or substitute any number of ingredients in this recipe and come up with so many different combination of flavours. I often just throw together whatever is left over in my fridge, freezer or pantry. Try adding zucchini, sauteed sweet potato, corn or peas to increase the vegetable content of this dish or a touch of mustard for a bit of a kick. Since I'm so time poor these days, it's great to also rely on an old favourite that I can whip up in a short amount of time.


300g dried rigatoni or penne pasta
4 cooked chicken drumsticks or BBQ chicken
4 rashers rindless bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g mushrooms, sliced
100g baby spinach leaves or 1 bunch fresh asparagus
300ml light thickened cream or light evaporated milk
2 tbs semi-dried tomatoes
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese or more if desired
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese or more if desired

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a 5cm-deep, 20cm x 28cm (base), 8-cup capacity baking dish.
  2. Remove chicken meat from the bone. Thinly shred meat. Discard bones.  
  3. Heat a little oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until it starts to crisp. Then add onions and garlic and cook a further 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes or until tender.
  5. Drain pasta and return to saucepan. Add chicken, spinach or asparagus, mushrooms, cream, tomatoes and half the Parmesan. Toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Top with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Spoon pasta bake onto serving plates. Serve.
Notes and Tips

If using fresh asparagus, blanch in boiling water. Remove from heat, plunge into iced water, set aside for 5 minutes then drain.

For the vegetarian version of this recipe, just omit the meat and add more vegetables of your liking.

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