I know yesterday I said spring is just around the corner, well that corner is probably still a few blocks away. So, today I am diving head first into comfort food with this utterly creamy & delicious pasta bake. When you add pasta and cheese to any oven dish, you just know it has to be a success. For me, I also know my kids are going to eat it. Which is more than I can say for the salad from yesterday. I gave the salad an A+, but the kids gave it a definite thumbs down. Oh well, at least I try.
This pasta bake is still studded with veggies but smothered between layers of cheese and pasta. It goes down a little smoother for the younger taste buds. Not too shabby for our experienced taste buds either.
Note: Pasta dishes, like this one, often have several components. This one has the pasta, the sauce, chicken and the veggies. It is a good idea to get everything cooking at the same time, as opposed to cooking one thing setting it aside and so on. This will cut down the actual amount of time you are standing at the stove. I usually get a pot of boiling water on for the pasta while I am cooking the chicken in one pan and the veggies in another one. While all that is on the go, you can get your sauce going. When you read through the recipe below, it will all make a bit more sense. Since I have finally started to include cooking times, I add them according to several things being cooked at the same time. Hope this helps!
This is a great dish to make ahead, keep in the fridge and cook when ready. Makes for easy fuss free dinners.
I used Gouda cheese in this recipe, simply because it was what I happened to have in the fridge. A cheddar cheese would just as easily work. Try not to skip out the parmesan though as it really adds that extra touch of flavour.
Chicken Leek & Broccoli Oven Pasta
Serves 4 -6 / Prep time: 30 minutes / Cook time: 1 hour
2 Chicken breast
1/2 lb/250 grams penne pasta
2 Cups/480 ml milk
2 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Leeks, trimmed and cut into thin slices sideways
1 Small red pepper, diced
1 1/2 Cups/260 grams broccoli florets
1 1/2 Cups/175 grams Gouda cheese, grated
1/3 Cup/35 grams parmesan cheese, grated
Small bunch of fresh chopped parsley
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Teaspoon sea salt
1/2 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 Garlic cloves, crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and have ready a 8 inch round deep sided baking dish. An equivalent size will do.
Place the chicken between two sheets of parchment paper and pound it to about an inch thickness with a kitchen hammer. Then season the chicken both sides with salt and rub over about 1/2 of the crushed garlic. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet set over high heat. Cook the chicken on each side for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and cut into bite size pieces and set aside.
Meanwhile, place your broccoli in a colander and pour over boiling water. Set aside.
In a large skillet set over medium heat add the remaining oil and garlic. Add the peppers and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta according to package, drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium to high heat, melt butter until sizzling. Whisk in flour until you have a paste. Gradually start whisking in your flour. Continue doing this until you have added all the milk and you have a slightly thickened sauce. Reduce heat to medium low and add most of the cheese, both kinds, reserving a little for the top. Stir really well until all the cheese has melted into the sauce. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper and add the chopped parsley. Stir and remove from heat.
Add you chicken, pasta, vegetables and sauce to your oven dish and stir well to combine. Sprinkle over remaining cheese and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Julia and I have a passion for wholesome fresh food. Here you can find what's cooking in my Spanish kitchen, with inspiration from my Newfoundland roots!
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