This Chicken And Bacon Pasta Bake is a true family favourite. Chicken, bacon and sweetcorn mixed with cheese sauce and pasta and baked till golden…. SO YUMMY! See variation for a Slimming Friendly version too.
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Who loves chicken and bacon? Who loves cheese and pasta? If the answers to these questions are a resounding “YES” then you will adore this easy chicken bacon pasta bake recipe!
This dish comes together fairly quickly, especially if you have leftover roast chicken or use ready cooked rotisserie chicken. But it’s still easy peasy even if you have to pan fry the chicken first.
Needless to say this pasta bake is a big fave with kids of all ages… and you can customise it to add some sneaky veggies, like steamed broccoli or peas, if you like 🙂
Chicken And Bacon Pasta Bake
Here’s what you will need to make this recipe.
- Chicken: either leftover roast chicken or rotisserie chicken or you can pan fry three chicken breasts.
- Cheese Sauce: uses butter, flour, milk, cheese, mustard and garlic powder. Use a strong cheddar cheese (mature or vintage cheddar) for maximum deliciousness.
- Bacon lardons or pancetta cubes or you can use leftover roast ham!
- Diced onions
- Rigatoni or penne pasta – or any shape you like!
- Flat leaf parsley
- Parmesan cheese
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PASTA BAKE
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Take a look at the recipe card if you are using fresh chicken breasts.
Make the cheese sauce. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat until melted.
Add the flour, whisking continuously, until you make a paste (called a roux).
Pour in a little milk, whisking continuously with a small balloon whisk (or stirring with a wooden spoon) until it is absorbed into the sauce.
Keep adding more of the milk to the pan, gradually, whisking it in with each addition until all of the milk has been added and the cheese sauce is smooth.
Take the pot off the heat. Stir in the mustard, garlic powder and grated cheese. Stir until the cheese melts, have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water according to pack instructions and drain.
While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon cubes in a non stick pan for about five minutes, until they start to crisp up.
Add the diced onion and continue to cook, stirring, over low heat until the onion turns translucent and starts to soften about 7 minutes.
Stir in the canned corn and diced chicken.
Add the bacon, corn and chicken to the cheese sauce, stirring to combine.
Stir in the cooked pasta and transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish. Season with pepper and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling. Cool for five minutes before serving garnished with more chopped parsley.
LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS
Your chicken bacon pasta bake will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Reheat in the oven or in a pan, adding a little milk if needed.
You can freeze the assembled dish, before it is baked. Leave to cool completely first, cover with a layer of cling film and then a layer of foil, label and freeze for up to three months. Cook directly from frozen as per instructions.
MAKE IT LIGHTER
For a more Slimming Friendly version, replace the butter for a reduced fat spread (such as Flora Light) and use skimmed milk and reduced fat cheddar cheese to make the sauce. Take a look at this slimming Mac and Cheese for inspiration!
This works out at approximately 4 syns per portion for the Flora and flour but make sure you keep an eye on your portion sizes! Serve with a crisp green salad or some steamed vegetables.
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Chicken And Bacon Pasta Bake
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour (plain/all purpose)
- 600 ml (2 ½ cups) milk use skimmed for lighter version
- 180 g (2 cups) strong cheddar , grated
- 2 tsp mustard powder or 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 1 tsp salt
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg , optional
Chicken Pasta Bake
- 400 g (14oz) rigatoni pasta or your favourite dried pasta
- 150 g (⅔ cup) diced bacon or pancetta cubes
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 400 g (14oz) sweet corn from a tin, drained
- 450 g (1 lb) cooked chicken diced
- 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
- Large handful fresh parsley , chopped, divided
- Salt and pepper , to season
Make the cheese sauce
- Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat until melted.
- Stir in the flour, stirring continuously, until you make a paste (called a roux). Don't let the roux brown, keep stirring.
- Pour in a little of the milk, whisking continuously with a small balloon whisk (or stirring with a wooden spoon) until the liquid thickens.
- Working quickly, keep adding more of the milk to the pan, gradually, whisking it in with each addition until all of the milk has been added and the white sauce is smooth and glossy.
- Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the mustard, garlic powder, nutmeg if using and salt.
- Add the grated cheese and stir it into the sauce until it melts. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Chicken Pasta Bake
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water according to pack instructions. Set a timer to cook till al dente then drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in a non stick pan for 5 minutes, until it starts to crisp.
- Add the diced onion and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring, until slightly softened.
- Stir in the corn and chicken.
- Add this to your cheese sauce, stir to combine then mix in the pasta so that it is well coated in the sauce. Stir in half the parsley.
- Transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish and season with a little black pepper. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown in spots. Cool slightly before serving garnished with more chopped parsley.
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