Chicken Pasta Bake
The pasta bake is made with a delicious cheesy tomato sauce and works perfectly with left over roast chicken as we made it. Actually it’s just as good without the chicken and will make a great side.
This secret to this dish is the tomato sauce which brings everything together. To get more intensity and flavour we oven roasted the tomatoes with thyme, salt and olive oil for an hour before blending and adding to the sauce. This really concentrates the flavour of the tomatoes and gives them a great kick in flavour (essential for UK tomatoes which are bland at the best of times).
Once the tomato sauce was ready we blended it again to get a smooth creamy finish. Spoon of Philadelphia cheese and some red Leicester and the sauce is ready. Simple combine with pasta and bake topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- 4 Tomatoes, halved
- Sea/Rock Salt
- Olive Oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional or reduce amount)
- ½ tsp tomato puree
- 100 ml Marasala (optional)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 4 Oven Roasted tomatoes (above) puréed
- 250g tomato passata or 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- Large handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1 large teaspoon cream cheese
- 1 heaped handful of red Leicester cheese (or cheddar cheese)
- 250g Penne, Macaroni or other Pasta (we used Macaroni)
- Cooked chicken pieces
- 125g mozarella cheese
- 50g parmesan cheese
- Halve the tomatoes, springle with salt, fresh thyme and olive oil.
- Roast in a medium/hot oven (180 Degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour
- Allow to cool then puree in a blender
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according the the pack instructions. Leave slightly Al dente (about 2 minutes from full cooking time as it will bake in the sauce).
- Sieve and drizzle and mix with olive oil to stop the pasta sticking together
- Warm 2 tbsp olive oil and add the onions. Soften for about 5 minutes
- Add the garlic and fry for a further 1 minute
- Add the dry chilli flakes and the tomato puree and fry for 1 minute
- Add the Marsala wine and allow to cook off for a further minute
- Add the pureed roasted tomatoes, passata, water, sugar, oregano, basil and thyme
- Stir well and taste for seasoning then decide how much salt and pepper to add
- Allow the sauce to cook and reduce for about 10-15 minutes until it has thickened up a bit (dont let it get too thick, if it does, add more water)
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then blend until smooth
- Return the blended tomato sauce back to the pan and turn on the heat.
- Once back to temperature add the 2 cheeses and stir well until the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy.
- Take off one or two ladles of sauce and set aside for topping later
- Add the chicken, basil and stir through.
- Add the pasta and mix well
- Fill your baking dish with the pasta mixture then top with the remaining sauce
- Liberally sprinkle over the mozzarella, followed by the parmesan
- Bake for 10-20 minutes on a medium oven until the cheese has melted and is golden.
- Finally sprinkle over a few more roughly chopped pieces of basil and serve alone or as a side dish