Who does not fancy a pasta bake when it is chilly outside? That is true comfort food for winter. Besides, this recipe can be prepared with leftovers from a previous roast.
- Melt butter. Add flour and cook for 1 minute over medium heat.
- Remove from heat and add milk slowly, stirring vigorously.
- Cook on medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until sauce thickens and simmers -
- Allow the sauce to simmer for 2 minutes if preparing long in advance. If pouring still hot, there is no need.
- Stir in cheese. Keep heating on a very low heat until cheese melts. Don´t let it boil again.
- Cook pasta following the package instructions. Drain.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Cook bacon and onions over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Bacon should be crisp.
- In a large bowl, combine pasta, bacon mixture, corn, and chicken. Pour cheese sauce over and mix well. Add broccoli and mix briefly.
- Rub butter on the sides and bottom of an oven proof dish. Spoon in mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese top is melted and starts to turn brown.
This pasta bake can be prepared in advance and re-heated later, but it does not freeze well.
Chicken, carrots, broccoli, even sweet corn, could be leftovers from the roast served the day before. If not, cook fresh, boil broccoli and carrots for 10 minutes, or steam for 20 minutes, use frozen sweetcorn, and boil or pan fry chicken meat in strips, or get a ready roasted chicken and use part of the meat.
There are some tricks for a faster preparation:
- Microwave bacon and onion on HIGH for 3 minutes.
- Boil broccoli and carrots with the pasta.
- Microwave instead of baking: sprinkle paprika on top to give a nice color and cook on HIGH for 6 minutes.
- Microwave melted butter and flour on HIGH for 1 minute.
- Add milk and microwave on HIGH for other 3 minutes. Add cheese and stir until it melts. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on MEDIUM if necessary.