Do you ever look at a recipe and think it looks good, then go to make it and think that it might not be so great after all? That's what I did with this one. Happily, the end result was quite tasty and I was pleasantly surprised. The kids scarfed it down, even Ms Picky (aka Offspring #2), so I think it's fair to say that I'd consider making it again. The original recipe is for 8 so I halved it (although I wasn't especially careful with with measurements, sorry) and still had leftovers - guess what the kids are having for dinner tomorrow night? I used half of a cooked chook from the supermarket but if you had leftover chicken from last night's roast dinner this would be a perfect way to use it up. I also cooked mine a little longer than suggested, only because I made it earlier this afternoon and then threw it in the fridge for a few hours so it needed to be properly heated through.
Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Bake
Good Taste, August 2007
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 corncobs, husks and silk removed, kernels removed (I used a couple of handfuls of frozen peas and corn instead)
2 zucchini, trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed (I used the jarred variety)
300g dried risoni pasta
1 large roast chicken, skin and bones removed, meat shredded
1 1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar
1/3 cup plain flour
3 cups milk, warmed
2/3 cup coarsely grated cheese
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, corn kernels, zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
3. To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute or until the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until well combined. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar.
4. Preheat oven to 190C. Add the pasta, bechamel sauce and chicken to the zucchini mixture and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the pasta mixture into a 3 litre (12cup) capacity ovenproof dish.
5. Combine the breadcrumbs and cheddar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta mixture. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve.