Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake

I’m heading towards the end of another term at art school and this one has just flown by. Having the time this year to paint, draw and bake as and when I want is a great experience and it’s sad to think I only have a few more months of it left, not to mention the incredible people I’m going to be leaving behind. Next year I’m going on to Uni and the proper student ‘living on a budget and working in a tiny kitchen’ experience that comes with it. When I get there I won’t have the money, time, or equipment to be knocking up a four tiered celebration cake each week (unfortunately) so I thought I’d start developing some quick, student-friendly meals to get me into the spirit of it all.

From what my friends have been telling me pasta is the main staple food for most students, and so a pasta bake was the first thing that came to mind when I thought of student cooking. Stuffed with cheap vegetables and meat, this pasta bake is a really easy, nutritionally sound meal to indulge on. It’s also easily adaptable for any dietary requirements, and can be frozen, so if you make too much just whop the rest in the freezer for another day. I find that a big bowl of cheesy pasta is sometimes all I need to get through a horrible essay, and this will defo do the job!

Recipe

Serves 6

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 350g Pasta
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 3 Chicken thigh fillets
  • 8 Bacon rashers
  • 1 White onion
  • 1 Yellow pepper
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp Tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed herbs
  • 800g Chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml Single cream
  • 2 Handfuls of baby spinach
  • 150g Grated cheddar
  • 1 Ball of mozerella
  • 1 Handful fo Basil

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. Boil a pan of water over a high heat. Add the pasta and boil until it’s just cooked, but still has a bite. Leave to sit in the water until needed.
  3. Next pour the oil into a large saucepan and put over a medium heat. Cut the chicken into chunks with kitchen scissors and fry in the oil until it’s cooked on all sides. Take the chicken out of the pan and leave on a plate for now.
  4. Then put the grill on full heat and cook the bacon under it. Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy, turning it over half way through cooking.
  5. Peel and finely chop the onion and then add it to the pan you cooked the chicken in. Fry the onion until it begins to caramelise.
  6. Meanwhile deseed and chop the pepper, and then chop the garlic. Add these two the pan with the onion and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the tomato puree, herbs, chopped tomatoes, and the cooked chicken to the pan and leave to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce starts to reduce.
  8. Add the cream and spinach to the pan, mix to combine, and then set to one side. Drain the pasta from the water and then add the pasta to the pan with the tomatoes. Stir everything together and then tip it all into a large oven proof dish.
  9. Sprinkle over the grated cheddar. Then tear the mozzarella into chunks and place this over the top of the pasta bake.
  10. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and then serve with garlic bread and a side salad!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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