Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake

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This latest creation went down a treat among my family – a comforting, creamy pasta bake! I love using broccoli in recipes, and its the key vegetable in this dish. You could make this dish vegetarian by subbing two 400g tins of chickpeas for the chicken also – I’ll definitely be trying it out myself soon!
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Recipe (Serves 6 people)
Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp each oregano and dried thyme
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 400g of wholewheat penne pasta
  • 100g of grated mature cheddar cheese
  • 400ml of milk
  • 5 chicken breasts, diced into small pieces
Method:  
  1. Peel and dice up your onion and garlic cloves before you get started, and wash the spinach leaves. Wash the broccoli and chop the bigger florets into smaller pieces.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan oven).
  3. Set a pot of water to boil for your pasta and cook according to the package instructions.
  4. While your pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a second pot, then add the onion, garlic and broccoli. Cook for 3-4 mins until the onions are translucent.
  5. Add the herbs, and cook for another 2 minutes to coat the veg in them.
  6. Next, add the diced chicken, and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through (the pieces should be a little browned).
  7. Add the flour, then the milk, + 1/3 of the grated cheddar, and stir to combine until you’ve got thickened liquid the chicken and veg will simmer in.
  8. Turn the heat all the way down and give this a couple of minutes to simmer.
  9. Drain the pasta, and add it to the pot of chicken/veg, one big spoonful at a time. Mix the pasta in well so it is coated in the liquid too.
  10. When you’ve added all the pasta, take a rectangular baking dish (square is fine but you may not fit all the mix in!) and add the pasta/chicken/veg mix in.
  11. Smooth out the top, sprinkle the remaining 2/3 of the cheddar on top, and pop the dish into the oven!
  12. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese on top is golden and a teensy bit crisp in parts (you don’t want it to burn, so watch it carefully and take it out earlier than 10 minutes if needed!)
  13. Give the bake a couple of mins to stand, then dish up and tuck in!

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Enjoy guys! Tag me if you try this recipe out – @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook!

Ciara 🙂 x

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