Mmmm. This pasta bake (I have to say), is amazing. It’s creamy. It’s garlicky. It’s cheesy. It has mushrooms and chicken. Seriously, how could you go wrong? The most awesome thing about this pasta dish is that it’s also incredibly easy. It’s also not an overly expensive dish to make and can feed quite a large group (or give you tasty leftovers for the rest of the week.) It is also versatile. You can toss in a whole bunch of other ingredients to give it that special flavour you want. This pasta dish only has one downfall and that is that it is not exactly low in fat. But hell, once you taste it, you probably won’t care.
Ok, enough self praise! Getting down to business.
This is a large serving. I made it for a dinner party and it can serve about eight to ten people (especially if you have a side dish of salad.)
Ok we’ll start out with the sauce. We’ll be needing two large onions (more if you’re into that sort of thing;), plain flour, cream of mushroom soup, garlic and butter. We’ll also be needing milk, but milk was being unreasonable and refused to be photographed.
Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy based pot (you’ll be needing a large one if you don’t halve the recipe!)
While it’s melting, grate about four cloves or garlic (more or less, depending on how garlicky you want it. If you’re me, that’s a lot. lol.)
When butter starts to bubble, throw in garlic and until it becomes fragrant. Add chopped onion and saute.
Add in flour, tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk until it becomes a smooth roux.
Gradually add milk, half cup by half cup, whisking the whole time to ensure smoothness. Add in can of cream of mushroom of soup and stir. Add in 1/2 a cup of shredded grated cheese and stir until fully melted. Adjust thickness of sauce by adding more flour to thicken or more milk to thin to your liking. If you like, you can freeze quantities of this sauce (before adding the chicken) for future use.
Shred BBQ chicken (or do beforehand, as I did).
Add shredded chicken to sauce.
In a separate pot, boil pasta shells in hot salted water with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the shells from sticking until pasta is al dente. Drain. Add cooked pasta to sauce and mix through.
Season with salt and pepper and taste.
Now if you were serving this as a pasta dish, you could serve it now with a fresh side salad. If you wanted to turn it into a pasta bake, leave pasta dish in the pot (make sure this is an oven safe pot, by the way-) and sprinkle with a mixture of breadcrumbs and extra cheese and place in oven to bake. Serve when cheese is melted and golden.
Here is a quick list of the ingredients for your convenience.
1 large family sized 750 gram packet of shell pasta, cooked
2 large onions
4 cloves of garlic, grated
4 tablespoons of butter
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (i used Campbells)
1 C grated tasty cheese
4 tablespoons of plain flour
2 cups of milk (more or less. depends on how thick you want your sauce.)
the shredded meat of 1 large BBQ chicken
Optional extra ingredients: peas/corn, fresh mushrooms, other vegies you want to toss in (broccoli or cauliflower would go well.) You can also sub chicken for a can of tuna which is equally delicious and oh so slightly healthier.
1. Melt butter in heavy based, oven safe pot.
2. When it begins to bubble, throw in grated garlic and onion and allow it to become fragrant. Stir gently.
3. Add flour, tablespoon at a time, whisking to avoid lumps.
4. Add milk, 1/2 cupful at a time, whisking still, to ensure smoothness.
5. When milk has been fully incorporated, add in 1/2 a cup of cheese and cream of mushroom soup. Taste sauce (it should be quite salty from the mushroom soup). You can also adjust thickness with extra milk or flour. If freezing portions of your sauce, do so here.
6. Add in shredded chicken and cooked pasta and mix well.
Optional. For a pasta bake, add extra cheese and half a cup of breadcrumbs (for crispness) to the top of the pasta bake and then bake until cheese is melted and golden.
Make this one today! It is superrr delicious. 🙂