Today, I’m going to share with you the best chicken pasta bake recipe ever: Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake. This recipe is from the famous British cook and author, Mary Berry, who is known for her simple, delicious, and foolproof recipes. She is also a judge on the popular TV show, The Great British Bake Off.
Mary Berry’s Chicken Pasta Bake is a fantastic family meal that is super easy to make. It has a creamy, cheesy white sauce, garlicky chicken, and juicy fresh tomatoes. It’s a glorious dinner that even fussy kids will love. It’s also a great way to use up leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken.
In this article, I will show you how to make Mary Berry’s Chicken Pasta Bake in a complete step by step guide. I will also give you some tips and tricks to make it even better. Let’s get started!
What is Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe?
Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe is a delicious and easy dish that consists of penne pasta, chicken, cheese, and tomatoes, baked in a creamy white sauce. It’s a perfect family meal that is comforting, satisfying, and simple to make. It’s also a great way to use up leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken.
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Why You Love this Recipe
Here are some reasons why you will love this recipe:
- It requires just a handful of ingredients you likely already have on hand, making it an accessible weekday dinner.
- The rich, creamy sauce is punctuated by pops of flavor from the garlic, mustard, and Parmesan.
- In one baking dish, you get a balanced meal with protein, carbs, and vegetables.
- Customize it to your tastes by switching up the pasta shape, vegetables, or cheese.
- Prepare the pasta and sauce ahead of time so you can bake it fresh when needed. It also stores well for leftovers.
Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake
To make Mary Berry’s Chicken Pasta Bake, you will need the following ingredients:
- 400 g (14 oz) penne pasta
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp oil
- 50 g (2 oz) butter
- 50 g (2 oz) plain flour
- 600 ml (2 1/2 cups) full-fat milk
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 100 g (4 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
To make Mary Berry’s Chicken Pasta Bake, you will need the following equipment:
- A large pot
- A colander
- A large frying pan or grill pan
- A medium saucepan
- A whisk
- A medium ovenproof dish
- A measuring cup and spoons
- A cutting board and a knife
- A cheese grater
- An oven
Instructions to Make Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe
Here are the instructions to make Mary Berry’s Chicken Pasta Bake:
Step 1: Cook the pasta
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan/gas 7). Cook the penne pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, following the package directions, until al dente. Drain and toss with 1 tbsp of oil. Tip the pasta into the ovenproof dish and spread it evenly.
Step 2: Cook the chicken
In a small bowl, toss the chicken pieces with the garlic granules, paprika, salt, and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan or grill pan over high heat. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through.
Step 3: Make the sauce
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk well to form a smooth paste. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly, until you have a smooth and thick sauce. Stir in the mustard, half of the cheese, salt, and pepper.
Step 4: Assemble the dish
Spoon half of the sauce over the pasta and mix well. Arrange the chicken pieces over the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken. Scatter the tomatoes and the rest of the cheese over the top. Sprinkle some parsley for garnish.
Step 5: Bake the dish
Bake the dish for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Enjoy your delicious Mary Berry’s Chicken Pasta Bake!
What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake?
Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake is a hearty and filling dish that can be enjoyed on its own, or with some simple sides.
Here are some suggestions for what to serve with it:
- A crisp green salad dressed with a bright vinaigrette to contrast the richness of the pasta.
- Chewy garlic bread or rolls for dipping into the creamy sauce.
- Roasted broccoli or cauliflower, their charred edges pair nicely with the pasta.
- Fresh fruit salad in sweet juice or yogurt parfaits make a light, sweet dessert
Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake
Here are some pro tips to make the perfect Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake:
- Cook pasta al dente; it will finish cooking while baking.
- Generously season chicken so flavors permeate the sauce. Char in a grill pan for bonus flavor.
- Whisk sauce constantly for a smooth, lump-free texture. Dashes of nutmeg or cayenne add warmth.
- Use full-fat dairy for a rich, creamy sauce. Mix in sharper cheeses like cheddar or Gruyère.
- Drain chopped tomatoes well so their moisture doesn’t make the sauce watery.
- Garnish with fresh parsley for a pop of color and brightness.
Variations of Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake
You can easily customize Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake to suit your preferences or dietary needs.
Here are some variations you can try:
- Fun pasta shapes like fusilli, rigatoni, or wagon wheels
- Leftover roasted chicken to shorten prep time
- Quick-cooking vegetables like spinach, peas, or broccoli florets
- Melty cheeses like mozzarella or provolone
- Gluten-free pasta and flour for a wheat-free dinner
How do I store Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake Leftovers?
If you have any leftovers of Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Here are some tips for storing them:
- Let the dish cool completely before storing it, to avoid bacterial growth.
- Divide the dish into individual portions, to make it easier to reheat and serve.
- Label the container with the date and name of the dish, to avoid confusion and waste.
How do I reheat Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake Leftovers?
You can reheat Mary Berry Chicken Pasta Bake leftovers in the microwave or the oven, depending on how much time you have and how crispy you want the top.
Here are some tips for reheating them:
- In the microwave: Place a portion of the dish in a microwave-safe plate or bowl. Cover it loosely with a damp paper towel, to prevent drying out. Microwave it for 2 to 3 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Stir it halfway through, to ensure even heating.
- In the oven: Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/gas 4). Transfer the dish to an ovenproof dish, if not already in one. Cover it with aluminum foil, to prevent burning. Bake it for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes, if you want a crispier top.
Nutrition value per serving (based on 6 servings):
- Calories: 665 calories
- Fat: 27.8 grams
- Saturated fat: 10 grams
- Carbohydrates: 71.9 grams
- Fiber: 4.7 grams
- Protein: 37.5 grams
- Sodium: 0.42 milligrams
Here are some frequently asked questions about Mary Berry’s Chicken Pasta Bake:
How many servings does this recipe make?
This recipe makes 6 servings.
How long does this recipe take to make?
This recipe takes about 45 minutes to make, including 20 minutes of baking time.
What kind of pasta works best for this recipe?
You can use any short, tubular, or molded pasta for this recipe. Good options include penne, rigatoni, fusilli, farfalle, or macaroni. The key is to use a pasta shape that can hold the creamy sauce within its ridges or crevices. Stay away from long thin pasta like spaghetti or linguine which would be overpowered by the rich sauce.
Why is the pasta bake turning out dry?
The pasta bake will only turn out dry if you add too much pasta and not enough sauce. That is why you must follow the amounts given to you in the recipe to get a pasta bake that is cooked perfectly. It can also turn out too dry if you overcook it in the oven, so make sure to check it after 20 minutes.
How do I make this pasta bake vegetarian?
You can create a tasty vegetarian pasta bake by replacing the chicken with vegetables like roasted eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, or artichokes. Simply sauté your choice of veggies in the garlic oil until tender before assembling the dish. The vegetable juices will flavor the sauce beautifully. You can also add toasted nuts like pine nuts or walnuts for extra protein.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta, gluten-free flour, and gluten-free mustard. You can also check the labels of the cheese and the milk to make sure they are gluten-free.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it?
You can make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it for up to 3 months. Just thaw it overnight in the fridge and bake as usual. You can also refrigerate the dish without baking and bake it the next day. Just add 10 minutes to the baking time.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Mary Berry’s Chicken Pasta Bake. This recipe is a perfect family meal that is easy, delicious, and comforting. It’s also a great way to use up leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. Try it today and let me know what you think!
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