Day 8 – Chicken, Pumpkin and Leek Pasta Bake
A pasta bake is ideal for throwing in whatever leftovers need using up but sometimes the results are less than perfect. When I had no tasty cheese and so used Swiss cheese, the taste overpowered everything else. The remaining leftovers from a chinese stir-fry that my son threw in one day was also unwise.
There are some combinations that you know are going to pay off better than others – chicken goes with leeks and pumpkin so they were obvious contenders, but then again, the remains of the casserole the chicken was cooked with? Why not? The results were outstanding.
Serves 4 -6
350g dried pasta such as spirals, penne or macaroni; ½ large barbecued chicken or 2 cooked chicken marylands; 350-400g pumpkin, whole weight; 1 leek, white part only, finely sliced; 30g butter; 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced; 1 x 400g tin country-style chicken and vegetable soup; ¾ cup (180 ml) cream (or evaporated milk if you want to watch the fat content); sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste; 1 cup breadcrumbs; 1 cup (50g) tasty cheese, grated; ¼ cup (25g) parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 180°C
Fill a large pasta or stock pot with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet for 8-10 minutes until al dente.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken then remove all the meat from the bones, shred into large-ish chunks and set aside.
Peel and de-seed the pumpkin and chop the flesh into 2cm dice. Set aside.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the finely sliced leeks and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes until the leeks soften and turn a gentle golden colour. Add the pumpkin and continue to sauté for a further 5 minutes until the pumpkin starts to soften.
Add the tin of soup, cream and ½ cup water and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste.
Drain the cooked pasta and toss through the chicken sauce to completely coat the pasta. Pour into a 2 litre baking dish and scatter the combined cheeses and breadcrumbs over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden.
$11.40 for four to six people