About this recipe:A healthy, quick and easy family meal, this combines ready-cooked chicken and wholewheat pasta in a cheesy sauce. Including little broccoli florets is a great way to encourage children to enjoy this super-nourishing vegetable as part of a five-a-day target.
250g wholewheat penne (or other pasta shapes)
2 leeks, sliced
4 cooked chicken breasts or leftover roast chicken, about 350g in total
500ml semi-skimmed milk
85g mature cheese, such as Gouda, smoked Cheddar or vintage Cheddar, grated
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
20g Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons dried wholemeal breadcrumbs
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Method Prep:20min › Cook:20min › Ready in:40min
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water for 10–12 minutes or according to the pack instructions, until al dente. Trim the broccoli into small florets and slice the stalks. Add all the broccoli and the leeks to the pasta for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking.
When just tender, drain well, reserving about 250ml of the cooking water. Tip the pasta and vegetables into a large ovenproof dish. Skin the chicken and cut into small chunks and add to the dish.
Blend a little of the milk with the cornflour to a paste in a jug. Heat the remaining milk and reserved cooking water in the same pan until on the point of boiling. Pour about a cupful onto the cornflour paste and stir well, then pour this into the simmering milky water and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until it thickens. Remove from the heat and mix in the mature cheese. Season to taste.
Pour the sauce over the pasta, stirring gently with a fork. Nestle the tomato halves into the mixture, then sprinkle with the Parmesan, oregano and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and crispy on top. Serve hot.
Wholewheat pasta is a good source of complex carbohydrate and has a low GI value.
For some reason, I could not get my sauce to thicken, I ended up ditching it, and making up a basic white sauce as per normal (butter, flour, milk) and using that instead. Also, I think I'll cook my broccoli separately next time. - 19 Oct 2011
This recipe turned out fantastic! The whole family munched it down and requesting more!
I don't normally make food at home, the family tend not to like it one way or another but this one was LOVED by ALL!
As a newbie chef, it was relatively simple to follow except the bit about reusing the water!
It would feed a lot more than 4 people but maybe because I added more pasta? The great thing about this recipe is, I could make it again without using precise weights which is fantastic! Thank you so much!****
13-Oct-2015: Wow has it been that long?! Since then I've got married and help produce a baby! I still make this recipe to this day and my now wife adores it too! I'm making it again today - 04 Mar 2010
Very nice, simple dish, tasted absolutely delicious! Thumbs up from my guinea pigs!
Perhaps I would have cooked the veg for less time, as they continued to cook whilst in the oven, and personally I like them a bit firmer, but otherwise definately one i'll repeat. - 21 Oct 2010