Mary Berry's Chicken Pasta Bake, a fantastic family meal that is super easy to make. A creamy, cheesy white sauce, garlicky chicken, and juicy fresh tomatoes, what a glorious dinner! Even fussy kids will love this casserole that sums up what comfort food is all about.
When you have kids, feeding them can be one of the biggest challenges. I'm forever wondering what else to cook for the day. Toddlers are by definition creatures of habit, and they like to stick to their ( very few) favourite dishes (don't we all, though?).
Before I had the girls, I never worried what else to cook. It was a simple matter of opening the fridge, throwing together some bits and pieces to make a quick salad, sandwich or an easy dish.
With kids, it doesn't quite work like that, and they needs a wide range of dishes for a healthy growth. And this recipe is everything I ever needed. It's got carbs, veggies and protein, all in one delicious dish.
Making it is so easy, you will find yourself cooking this dish again and again. And it's not a big hit with kids only, but also with grown ups.
- chicken breasts - they cook quickly, and are good and healthy, an easy choice here
- penne pasta -or any other pasta shape
- butter - the sauce doesn't really work without it
- plain flour- it's used to thicken the sauce
- full-fat milk - it works the best with the bechamel sauce, the skimmed or semi-skimmed milk is not creamy enough
- dijon mustard - adds a nice sharpness to the dish
- grated parmesan cheese - it makes the sauce cheesy and delicious
- salt and black pepper
- garlic granules and paprika - to season the chicken
- oil - for cooking the chicken pieces
- chopped fresh tomatoes - to top the dish, it can be optional
Step-by-step photos and instructions
This dish has everything you wish for: garlicky grilled chicken, heart-soothing cheese sauce, and the good old pasta. Plus, some nice and juicy tomatoes to give it a fresh kick. Start by boiling the pasta with salted water until al dente. Drain, and set aside.
To grill the chicken:
- cut the chicken breasts into pieces, add them to a bag together with the garlic granules, paprika, salt, and pepper
- shake the bag well to coat the chicken pieces evenly
- heat up a grill pan or a simple frying pan, add a bit of oil, and cook the chicken pieces for 5-6 minutes
Next, we need to make the creamy cheese sauce:
- melt the butter in a pan, add the flour, and whisk well
- gradually pour in the milk, and continue to stir until it thickens into a sauce
- add the cheese, dijon mustard, salt and pepper
To put the dish together: pour the sauce over the pasta, and mix well. Transfer half of it to an oven-proof dish, spread the chicken over the pasta, add the remaining pasta, and top with chopped tomatoes.
The dish can also be cooked without making it to the oven, you can simply cook the chicken, make the sauce, coat the cooked and drained pasta with the sauce, and add the chicken pieces to it.
The dish would still be delicious this way too, but baking it really takes it to the very next level - I absolutely love the golden baked bits of the pasta, it's the best thing!
Be careful when you take the dish out of the oven, the sauce makes the pasta extra hot, so I'd leave it to cool for a bit before trying it out.
Have the oven pre-heated at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Pop the pasta in and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly hot.
Yes! The pasta won't have time to cook in the oven, so it has to be cooked before adding it to the sauce.
I absolutely love to serve the chicken pasta bake with a side of roasted vegetables, or a nice fresh salad.
Other creamy pasta recipes
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Mary Berry's Chicken Pasta Bake
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 cups penne pasta (about 200 g)
- 2 tablespoon butter (about 30 g)
- 2 tablespoon plain flour
- 2 cups full-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ cup chopped fresh tomatoes
- Boil the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain the water and set aside.
- Cut the chicken breasts into pieces, add them to a re-sealable bag together with the garlic granules, paprika, quarter a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.Heat up the oil in a pan or a grill pan, add the chicken and cook for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and stir to make a paste.
- Gradually pour in the milk, continuing to stir until it thickens into a sauce.
- Add the parmesan, dijon mustard, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the sauce with the pasta.
- Transfer half of it to an oven-proof dish, then arrange the chicken pieces over it, and add the remaining pasta.
- Chop and deseed the tomatoes, then top the pasta with them.
- Bake at 180 degrees C (360 F) for 20 minutes until bubbly hot.
- The dish can also be cooked without making it to the oven, you can simply cook the chicken, make the sauce, coat the cooked and drained pasta with the sauce, and add the chicken pieces to it.
- The dish would still be delicious this way too, but baking it really takes it to the very next level - I absolutely love the golden baked bits of the pasta, it's the best thing!
- Be careful when you take the dish out of the oven, the sauce makes the pasta extra hot, so I'd leave it to cool for a bit before trying it out.