Cheesy Pasta Bake With Chicken And Bacon – a family favourite (and it makes great leftovers too!).
Not a lot can beat a lovely cheesy pasta bake served up with a big side of salad (obviously that makes it healthy…….)
It’s one of those dinners that the kids can polish off in no time – regardless of how many veggies I sneak in there.
Peppers, onions, tomatoes, spinach – it all gets thrown in.
Sometimes I’ll add courgette or kale. If I’m being extra sneaky I might add some finely chopped mushroom too (I’m the only mushroom lover in our house – but they all eat mushrooms if they can’t identify them hee hee hee!).
CHEESY PASTA BAKE WITH CHICKEN AND BACON
400g (4½ cups) dried pasta shapes (I used rigatoni)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tbsp tomato puree
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
2 x 400g (14oz) tins chopped tomatoes
120ml (½ cup) double (heavy) cream
100g (3 packed cups) fresh baby spinach
8 rashers cooked bacon, chopped
100g (1 packed cup) strong cheddar cheese, grated
100g (1 packed cup) mozzarella, grated
Small bunch parsley, roughly torn
Preheat the oven to 190c/375f. Boil a large pan of water and cook the pasta for 1 minute less than recommended on the pack. Drain.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat the oil on a medium heat, in a large frying pan. Add the chicken, and cook until just sealed – about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the onion is softened. Add the chopped peppers, salt, pepper, garlic, tomato puree, oregano and thyme. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the tinned tomatoes and cream, bring to a gentle bubble, then add the pasta, spinach and cooked bacon. Stir everything together, then transfer to a large baking dish.
Top with the cheddar and mozzarella, and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown.
Take out of the oven and top with parsley before serving.