Catherine’s Chicken Pasta Bake

Hi Everybody

Great fun at Newstalk yesterday October 28th with Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue. Talking about all ways to keep the kids fed and entertained at Halloween.

Remember Halloween is just one day and when it comes to children’s diets it is not about what they do or eat on one day; it’s what they do every day of the year.

Teaching children how to cook is a fun way to change their attitude to food. Check out my calendar of cookery classes here http://www.thecookeryschool.ie/calender.php for details on our Head Chef Junior Chef classes, perfect for your budding little chef!

Here is my Chicken Pasta Bake recipe to help you fill those kiddies up before trick or treating and all that junk food ! For more recipes like this, my latest cookbook Bake Like An Italian has all you need!

Catherine’s Chicken Pasta Bake

Il pasticcio al pollo di Catherine / Serves 4 hungry adults or 6 children

I ask what would you like for dinner and the reply is chicken pasta bake all the time, so I hope that your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine. It’s so easy to whizz it up, especially during term time, when everything is very hectic.

extra virgin olive oil

400g penne

3 chicken fillets, poached and roughly diced or shredded

120g frozen peas

100g tinned or frozen sweetcorn

5 tbsp breadcrumbs

4 tbsp grated Parmesan

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the sauce:

75g butter

75g plain flour

1 litre milk

75g grated mature white Cheddar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease a medium gratin or lasagne dish with a little olive oil.

2 Cook the penne according to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked, retain 100ml of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

3 To make the sauce, combine the butter, flour and milk in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and just bring to the boil while whisking all the time to form a loose sauce.

Stir in the cheese and add some of the pasta cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4 Place the cooked pasta, cooked chicken, peas and sweetcorn in a large bowl. Pour over the sauce and mix well. Spoon the pasta into the gratin dish and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden.

I add 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard for a little extra zing, but I don’t tell the children!

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