Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake
Creamy chicken pasta bake made with cheddar and feta cheese sauce and packed with spinach, herby chicken and peas.
For the chicken pasta bake
- 3 cups penne pasta 300g, or pasta of choice
- 1 cup sliced shallots 2 large
- ¾ pound chicken breast cut into small strips
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 ½ cups baby spinach 100 g, roughly chopped
- 2 cups frozen peas 250 g
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Making the sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the flour and onion powder to make a roux. Cook for 2 minutes to get rid of any raw flour taste. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the milk whilst whisking to make a smooth mixture. Return to the heat and cook to thicken, about 5-10 minutes.
3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 ½ cups milk, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Stir in the dijon mustard then the feta and grated cheddar. Stir to combine but bear in mind that the feta won't melt - that's ok! Season with salt and pepper. Set aside
7 ounces feta cheese, ½ cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Making the chicken mixture
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Place a frying pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallots along with a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the chicken strips, the herbes de Provence and salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until the chicken is white but not fully cooked through. Set aside.
1 cup sliced shallots, ¾ pound chicken breast, 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Cook the pasta until al dente in salted water (a couple of minutes less than the package instructions suggests). Drain the pasta and return to the pan it cooked in (or a large bowl). Add the cooked chicken and shallots, sauce, spinach and frozen peas (no need to defrost). Stir well to combine. Season with the fresh nutmeg. Pour into a baking dish.
2 ½ cups baby spinach, 2 cups frozen peas, ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 3 cups penne pasta
Making the breadcrumbs
Stir the melted butter into the panko breadcrumbs and garlic powder. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta mixture and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling.
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon melted butter, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Serve with a green salad, garlic bread or potato wedges for some carb loaded joy!
Only searing the chicken and finishing the cooking of it in the oven leads to a tender chicken bite.
Remove the roux from the heat before gradually whisking in the milk and then return to heat once uniform and cook until thickened.
Any milk works for the sauce.
To reheat leftovers - add a splash of water to the baking dish, cover with foil and reheat at 180C for about 30 minutes (from fridge-cold) until piping hot. It also heats up pretty well in the microwave (great for work lunches!)
Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.5g | Protein: 33.7g | Fat: 23.7g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 105.5mg | Sodium: 539mg | Potassium: 705.7mg | Fiber: 4.8g | Sugar: 11.7g | Vitamin A: 281.5IU | Vitamin C: 13.8mg | Calcium: 402.5mg | Iron: 3.9mg