August 31, 2010

Chicken, Mushroom and Brie Pasta Bake

This delicious pasta bake is one of my all-time favourite dishes to make at home as it is no-fuss to prepare and very little can go wrong when cooking. I also love that it acts more like a base recipe and is so versatile that you can omit or substitute in different ingredients, depending on the season and what you have at home in the fridge.

Serves 4:
- 500g dried, baby macaroni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 300g button mushrooms, sliced
- 10 slices pancetta, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 60g butter
- ⅓ cup plain flour
- 3 cups milk, hot
- 1 regular-sized barbecued chicken, flesh and skin shredded, bones discarded
- 150g double brie, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup parsley, chopped
- 1 cup grated tasty cheese

Note: Experiment with other ingredients like peas, tinned diced tomatoes (which can even replace the butter/flour/milk bechamel sauce for the health conscious), diced carrots (boil at same time with pasta), baby spinach, prosciutto, tuna, fresh thyme leaves, crumbled feta, various spices.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to packet instructions. Drain and return to the pot. I find it best to boil the pasta until it is just below al dente, as it still continues to cook from the residual heat and steam when transferred back into the pot.

Here I boiled diced Royal Blue potatoes with the pasta

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan on high and sauté the mushrooms, pancetta and garlic for 2-3 minutes, until tender.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and blend in the milk, stirring (with a whisk, if possible) until smooth. Return to the heat, and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens. Simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the pancetta and mushroom mix, shredded chicken, brie and most of the parsley to the pasta in the pot. Carefully mix to combine on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until heated through.

Here I added a cup of tinned diced tomatoes to the mixture

Spoon mixture into a 10-cup ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the remaining parsley and grated tasty cheese over the top. Grill for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and heated through. Serve immediately alongside a refreshing salad.

Chicken, Mushroom, Pancetta and Brie Pasta Bake

No comments: