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Chicken Pasta Bake

This Tomato Chicken Pasta Bake is easy, cheesy and loaded with flavour. It's 100% family approved!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Western
Servings: 5
Calories: 871kcal
Cost: £2.50 / $3

Equipment

  • Large Deep Frying Pan or Pot (for chicken/sauce)
  • Medium/Large Pot & Colander (for pasta)
  • 9x13" Baking Dish (or similar size)
  • Tongs (for frying chicken)
  • Wooden Spoon & Serving Spoon
  • Fine Cheese Grater
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 2x 7-9oz/200-250g Chicken Breasts (brought close to room temp)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp EACH: Dried Parsley, Dried Basil
  • 1/2 tsp EACH: Garlic Powder, Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Pasta

  • 12oz / 350g Penne (or other short cut pasta)
  • 4 cups / 1litre/kg Tomato Passata (pureed tomatoes in US)
  • 1 small bunch Fresh Parsley, approx 1/4cup finely diced (can sub fresh basil or mix of both)
  • 1 cup / 125g Sun Dried Tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup / 30g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp Sun Dried Tomato Oil (sub olive oil)
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 2 fat cloves of Garlic, minced/finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes, or to spice preference
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Pasta Bake

  • 2x 4.5oz/125g balls of Fresh Mozzarella, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup Basil Pesto or enough to drizzle over top
  • 2/3 cup / 60g freshly grated Parmesan

Instructions

  • Prep Chicken: Butterfly chicken breasts right through the centre to make 4 even sized breasts. Coat in olive oil, dried basil & parsley, garlic powder and salt & pepper.
  • Cook Chicken: Place in a frying pan over medium high heat and fry both sides until lightly charred, with the centre white all the way through. Place to one side and allow to rest, then slice into thin strips when needed.
  • Sauce: In the same pan turn heat to a medium and add in sun dried tomato oil (or olive oil). Add diced onion and fry until it softens/begins to brown, then add in sun dried tomatoes & garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Pour in passata then add parsley, chilli flakes, sugar, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer on low heat for 15-20mins until it begins to thicken slightly. This is also important to allow the flavours to marry together.
  • Pasta: Add pasta to a large pot of heavily salted water and cook until al dente. You want it still a little hard as it'll continue cooking in the pasta bake. Scoop out 1/3cup/80ml of the starchy pasta water just before draining.
  • Combine: Add drained pasta to sauce and pour in 1/3/cup/80ml starchy pasta water. Add sliced chicken and 1/3cup/30g parmesan and stir to combine. Pour into a baking dish a level out with a wooden spoon.
  • Pasta Bake: Drizzle over pesto (no need to spread it, just dot it around). Add mozzarella slices to cover then evenly sprinkle over 2/3cup/60g parmesan. Pop in the oven at 200C/390F for 20-25mins or until golden and bubbly.

Video

Notes

a) Can I use cooked rotisserie chicken? - Yep! Just dice into chunks and stir through the sauce with the pasta. Still use all the chicken seasoning above (basil/parsley/garlic powder) and just place in with the sauce to cook, just so you don't lose out on flavour. 2 packed cups cooked chicken should suffice.
b) Can I prep this ahead of time? - I usually like to make fresh as I find prepping ahead alters the texture slightly. If you are prepping ahead I recommend allowing the sauce and pasta to individually cool before combining, otherwise the pasta continues to cook and soaks up the sauce as it rests. If this happens the pasta comes out mushy and the sauce drys up. Prep up until adding the cheese, tightly cover in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temp before baking (otherwise it won't cook evenly) then bake as instructed.
c) Al Dente Pasta - You'll want to knock off a minute or two from packet guidance. It's important that the pasta is still a teeny bit hard otherwise it'll overcook in the oven and go mushy.
d) Leftovers - Tightly cover and store in the fridge for 2-3days. Reheat in the microwave until the chicken is piping hot again.
e) Calories - Whole recipe divided by 5 using 7oz/200g chicken breasts.

Nutrition

Calories: 871kcal | Carbohydrates: 85.97g | Protein: 47.52g | Fat: 40.06g | Saturated Fat: 13.452g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.938g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17.816g | Trans Fat: 0.183g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 1254mg | Potassium: 1891mg | Fiber: 13.4g | Sugar: 15.87g | Vitamin A: 2319IU | Vitamin C: 32.4mg | Calcium: 549mg | Iron: 6.56mg