There is something really comforting about a pasta bake. It does not matter what time of year it I love to make a hearty pasta bake, and they can be as heavy or as light as you want to make them. I have no idea why people use the stuff out of the jars when it is so easy to make either a tomato or a white sauce.
This chicken and bacon version is a slight twist on my mac and cheese recipe. I have used Parmesan instead of a local cheese and have topped it with a creamy Spanish favourite of mine, Havarti cheese. If you are weight watcher I suggest you eat this after you have been weighed! But you can make this lighter and use skimmed milk instead to make the white sauce. You can also grate on a low fat cheese on the top. In Spain to you buy a light Havarti, but when melted it’s a little rubbery.
The pasta that I used to make this was from the Lincolnshire Co-op as this pasta tends to holds it’s shape when cooked better, but you can use any gluten free pasta that you want to. I am going to make this with my macaroni in the next few weeks just to see what the difference is.
200g dried gluten free pasta, any shape
2 medium sized chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
3 slices of bacon, cut into small bits or you buy a packet of pancetta pieces
1 white onion, diced
400ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tblsp gluten free plain flour
40g grated Parmesan
2 slices of Havarti cheese or any grated cheese of your choice on the top
Salt and pepper
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 oC and bring a pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Once boiling add to the pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Take off the heat, drain and set aside.
2. In a frying pan cook the onion so that they soften and add the chicken and gently cook until sealed. Now add the bacon and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.
3. Now to make the cheese sauce, make sure your heat is on a low to medium heat/flame. In a pan melt the butter and add the flour and continually stir or whisk. Once you have cooked the flour out for a minute or so, add some of the milk and continually stir or whisk. Keep adding the milk until it is all gone and stir. You will feel the sauce thicken. Once the sauce is thickened add in the cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add your chicken and bacon mixture to the sauce and the pasta and stir so that all the ingredients are coated in the sauce. Now transfer the mixture to a heat proof dish. Sprinkle on your cheese or place the slices of Havarti on the top. Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The top should be slightly golden and bubbling.
Happy gluten free cooking 🙂