very cheesy pesto bacon and chicken pasta bake

Say PESTO!

My toes just curled.

Did I ever tell you that I LOVE pesto?

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I guess not. 

Because the LAM is not a fan, I rarely cook anything with pesto because it can be very tedious to prepare a few different types of dishes all at the same time.

Not to mention the washing up afterwards.

Then the other day I was at the supermarket (it looks like I am always hanging out at the supermarket – you are not too far from the truth), staring longingly at the jars of pesto. 

Very drama, right?

But I really was! And it occurred to me that MAYBE, maybe I could mix this into a Bechamel sauce and make a pasta dish of some sort. This meant that the flavor of the pesto would not be too in-your-face, yet is still strong enough to come through.

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So I bought a jar, and made this gorgeous pasta bake with chicken. So that it would appeal more to the LAM, I topped the pasta bake with crispy bacon.

Well, I am not sure if he couldn’t detect the tone-down pesto flavor, or it was because he was so enthralled with the bacon. What mattered was that the dish passed the test!

I am so happy! 

I LOVE pesto. 🙂

Anyway, enough rambling, let me get on with the instructions on how to make this pasta!

Start by frying the bacon in a little olive oil. If you are worried about splatter, you can follow the instructions on how to cook bacon here.

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Once the bacon has turned crispy, transfer them into a bowl and set aside.

In the same Dutch oven or skillet, brown the chicken. When the chicken is lightly brown, transfer them into another bowl and set this aside as well.

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Add diced onion and minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. 

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Add flour and stir to cook. This will eliminate the uncooked taste of the flour.

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Reduce the heat, add milk and stir until the mixture has thickened. 

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Add the pesto and stir to distribute evenly.

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Turn off the heat, add the cheeses and stir until they have melted.

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Cook and drain the pasta, taking 3 minutes off the recommended cooking time. Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir to mix.

IMG_6658Return the chicken to the sauce. Stir to distribute evenly.

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Ladle the pasta and sauce into either individual casserole dishes or a bigger, family-sized one. Fill the casseroles until they are about 3/4 full.

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Spoon (about 3-4 tablespoons) tomato sauce on the pasta. It does not have to cover all the pasta as the sauce will spread. If using family-sized casserole, simply pour all the sauce over the pasta.

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Top with the remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. 

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As well as the bacon.

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Bake at 200°C for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheeses have melted and the top is golden brown.

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Garnish with chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley and serve immediately.

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Bliss.

🙂

 

Very Cheesy Pesto Bacon And Chicken Pasta Bake
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 250g short pasta - I used pasta curls
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup (31g) flour
  4. 3 cups (720ml) milk - I used full-cream
  5. 180-200g pesto (use the whole jar)
  6. 225g mix of cheeses - I used Mozzarella, Gruyere and Cheddar
  7. 140g Parmesan
  8. 500g chicken breast or thigh, cubed
  9. 1/2 onion, diced
  10. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  11. 225g tomato sauce or pasta sauce
  12. 200g wood-smoked bacon, sliced
To garnish
  1. Chopped Italian flat-leaf parsely
Instructions
  1. Start by frying the bacon in a little olive oil. If you are worried about splatter, you can follow the instructions on how to cook bacon here. Once the bacon has turned crispy, transfer them into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same Dutch oven or skillet, brown the chicken. When the chicken is lightly brown, transfer them into another bowl and set this aside as well.
  3. Add diced onion and minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  4. Add flour and stir to cook. This will eliminate the uncooked taste of the flour.
  5. Reduce the heat, add milk and stir until the mixture has thickened.
  6. Add the pesto and stir to distribute evenly.
  7. Turn off the heat, add the cheeses and stir until they have melted.
  8. Cook and drain the pasta, taking 3 minutes off the recommended cooking time. Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir to mix.
  9. Return the chicken to the sauce. Stir to distribute evenly.
  10. Ladle the pasta and sauce into either individual casserole dishes or a bigger, family-sized one. Fill the casseroles until they are about 3/4 full.
  11. Spoon (about 3-4 tablespoons) tomato sauce on the pasta. It does not have to cover all the pasta as the sauce will spread. If using family-sized casserole, simply pour all the sauce over the pasta.
  12. Top with the remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. As well as the bacon.
  13. Bake at 200°C for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheeses have melted and the top is golden brown.
  14. Garnish with chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley and serve immediately.
The Domestic Goddess Wannabe http://thedomesticgoddesswannabe.com/