Once in a month, I love to make Baked Pasta with Chicken and Vegetables for my family. As it is a complete meal in itself, I make just this healthy pasta for the dinner and I am done! This creamy, baked pasta recipe has all the magical ingredients to make it one of our favourite family dinner choice: sausages, lots of veggies, chicken, eggs, olives, capers and above all, the cheesy white sauce to die for! This baked pasta dish is layered with thyme-flavoured chicken and then with a hearty throw of vegetables, followed by a final layer of boiled eggs topped with mozzarella, cheddar and ricotta. My kids love to eat the vegetables in this pasta, although like most other kids, they are actually not quite fond of eating vegetables!
Baked Pasta with Chicken and Vegetables
- Spiral pasta: 300 g
- Fresh thyme: roughly 12 sprigs
- Chopped chicken breast (marinated with ¼ tsp salt and ½ tsp crushed garlic for 20 min): 1.5 cup
- Finely chopped onions: ½ cup
- Garlic paste (for the vegetables and the chicken): 1 tsp+ 1 tsp
- Zucchini: 1
- Broccoli florets: 1 cup
- Fresh button mushrooms (chopped): 1 pack
- French beans: Handful (chopped)
- Worcestershire sauce: 1.5 tsp
- Tomato: 1
- Salt: According to taste
- Mixture of olive oil and canola oil: 6 tbsp
- Butter (for the white sauce): 2 tbsp (mixed with 2 tsp canola oil)
- All-purpose flour (for the white sauce): 4 tbsp
- Hard-boiled eggs (chopped into circles): 8
- Full-cream milk (can be replaced with low-fat milk): 2.5 cups
- Water: ½ cup
- Sausages (chopped): ½ cup
- Grated white cheddar cheese for the white sauce: ½ cup
- Grated white cheddar cheese for the top layer: ¼ cup
- Mozzarella cheese for the top layer (cut into small pieces): ¾ cup
- Crumbled ricotta cheese for the top layer: ¼ cup
- Capers: few (for garnishing)
- Kalamata olives: few (for garnishing)
- Tomato slices: few (for garnishing)
Chop the vegetables as shown.
Add half the oil in a skillet. When the oil is hot, add half of the garlic. Sauté briefly and add the marinated chicken and half of the fresh thyme. Sauté for 10 min on high flame, or until the chicken is just cooked. Do not overcook. Remove the contents in the skillet with a spoon.
Add the rest of the oil again to the same skillet. Introduce the onions when the oil is hot. Sautécontinuously on a medium flame for 5 min. Throw in the vegetables, rest of the thyme and the remaining garlic. Sauté the vegetables on medium to high heat for around 7 min. Add the salt as per the taste (I added ½ tsp.). Add the Worcestershire sauce and sauté for another two minutes. Remove the cooked veggies into a bowl.
Make the white sauce. Add butter and 2 tsp of canola oil to the same skillet. When the oil is just hot, add the all-purpose flour and sauté continuously for 2 min over medium flame. Add a little milk and stir continuously to prevent lumps.
Add the rest of the milk and stir. There should be no lumps at all. For this, you have to keep on stirring the white sauce over medium flame and keep on breaking the lumps, if present. When the sauce starts to thicken, add ½ tsp salt and the grated white cheddar cheese. Stir again.
Add the sausages and the water and cook for 3 min. (I added water because I want the sauce to be little runny, which while baking later, thickens.) Switch off the gas and mix the pasta with the white sauce.
Take a large baking dish. Transfer the pasta (mixed with the white sauce) to this.
Next, layer the chicken over the pasta. Over the chicken layer, spread the vegetable layer.
The top layer should be boiled eggs. Sprinkle the chopped mozzarella, crumbled ricotta and grated cheddar over the eggs. Bake at 220⁰C for 7 min, or until the mozzarella melts.
Garnish with tomato slices, capers and chopped Kalamata olives. Baked pasta with chicken and vegetables is scrumptious and addictive!
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