Thursday, 21 January 2016


I mentioned to a friend I was going to make chicken and pasta bake for the kids last night. She looked a bit confused.... She knows me well - when it comes to cooking separately for my kids and my husband I like to keep things easy and simple. She was under the impression that pasta bakes take forever to make. This recipe is for her. I timed myself last night - it took exactly 34 minutes from start to finish. Okay, my chicken breast was leftover from the roast we had on Sunday but I am positive you can wrap it up in under 40 minutes even if  you have to cook the chicken from scratch. And this includes oven time!

Recipe (to feed 2 kids twice)

170 gr pasta shells, amori, penne or macaroni work best
1-2 handfuls of diced chicken breast (1 big chicken breast should be enough)

35 gr butter
35gr plain flour
500gr milk
1tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
a handful of grated cheese


Cook the pasta as per pack instructions.
If you need to cook your chicken breast do so now. Heat some oil in a pan. Cut the breast into thin strips or small cubes and fry them lightly, it should only take a couple of minutes. You can put some paprika in the oil if you want, for extra flavour.
To make the sauce melt the butter at low heat and add the flour to make the rue. Heat the milk in a pan or microwave until too hot to touch and add to the rue. Whisk lightly, you should have a smooth sauce in less than a minute. Up the heat slightly and stir until it has thickened. You want it quite runny as the pasta will absorb it whilst baking. Add the mustard if using and a good pinch of salt.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce and chicken. Mix well and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese has browned nicely. Let it cool slightly before serving.

My kids, aged 4 and 6, absolutely loved it. It is simple, delicious and fun (I use different pasta shapes every time) and this is one of the recipes they would happily eat for 2 days in a row. I tend to sprinkle it with water before reheating the next day. It freezes well, make sure to defrost thoroughly before reheating again.
When I make this dish for the 4 of us I use more spices (like bay leaves) and tend to put some Red Leicester on top along with some deseeded tomatoes. You can change it according to your own preferences, it is that versatile.

Desi in the Kitchen

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