My Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake is the ideal meal when you’re short on time but want to enjoy a warm and comforting meal. It is easy and tasty, packed with flavour, and a meal that the whole family will enjoy. Cooked chicken, pasta and broccoli are combined in a creamy, cheesy sauce, turned into a casserole dish and finished with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs which become deliciously crispy when baked.
300g(10.5 oz) broccoli florets – cut into bite-size pieces
300g(10.5 oz) shredded cooked chicken See Note 2
3clovesgarlic - minced
2spring onions/scallions - finely sliced (white and some of the green)
¼cup(60 g) butter
¼cup(40 g) plain/all-purpose flourSee Note 3
3 ½ cups(875 ml) milk
½cup(45 g) grated Parmesan cheeseSee Note 4
1teaspoonfresh thyme - finely choppedSee Note 5
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
1cup(90 g) panko breadcrumbs
¼cup(60 g) butter - melted
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (355 F).
In a large saucepan of boiling water, add sea salt to season well.Add your pasta and cook it until it is very al dente. – See Note 6One minute before you remove the pasta, add the broccoli florets.Drain the broccoli and pasta in a colander and set aside.
In the same saucepan that you cooked the pasta, on medium heat, melt the butter.Add the garlic and spring onions and cook for 2 minutes, being careful to not let the garlic burn.
Add in the flour and stir well with a whisk and cook for 1 minute.
Add half the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming. Add the remaining milk and increase the heat to medium high.
As the sauce starts to thicken, add in the parmesan cheese and thyme and whisk to combine.Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.Stir until the sauce resembles pouring cream consistency (takes about 5-7 minutes after increasing the heat).
Add the pasta, broccoli and chicken to the sauce. Check that the dish is well seasoned.
Grease a 30 x 20 cm (12 x 8 inches) baking/casserole dish and add the pasta mixture to the dish.
In a small frying pan, melt the remaining butter and once melted, mix through the panko breadcrumbs. Top the pasta with the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy on top.Remove from the oven and set the Pasta Bake aside for about 5 minutes. This will give it time to firm up a little and help it to hold its shape when serving.
Use a short pasta of your choice. A tubular pasta, such as rigatoni or penne is a good choice as the sauce becomes trapped in the tubes. Be sure to choose those with ribbed sides so the sauce doesn’t slide off.
I have used shredded rotisserie chicken, but shredded poached chicken breast would work fine also.
For a gluten-free option, use the appropriate flour, pasta and breadcrumbs.
Use good quality, freshly grated Parmesan. I like Grana Padano, it has great flavour and is less expensive than Parmigiano Reggiano.
Strip the leaves from the stems. If you use dried thyme, use ⅓ the amount and ensure that your dried thyme is fresh, or the flavour will be dull.
It is important to undercook your pasta as it will cook further when baked.
Adjust the seasoning to your liking – we recommend using freshly ground black pepper and sea salt flakes for the best flavour.
Please note, the nutritional information is based on four serves. The nutritional information is an estimate only.