- 500g farfalle or shell pasta
- 2 cups broccoli or broccolini, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic, freshly minced
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 4 tbsp butter, unsalted
- 4 tbsp plain flour (or gluten flour free can be used)
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp chicken stock powder
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Olive oil spray
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
- Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions, less 2 minutes. 2 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the broccoli (or broccolini if using) to the same pot (see note 1). Drain, set aside.
- In a large skillet on medium heat, add the garlic and spring onions. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the chicken thigh, paprika, salt, pepper and thyme sprigs. Increase the heat to medium-high, cook for 6-8 minutes until the chicken is browned all over.
- Add the butter. Once melted, mix in the flour to form a paste.
- Pour in two cups of the milk, incorporate it completely into the chicken and then add the remaining milk, the water and chicken stock powder.
- Cook, stirring for 5-6 minutes OR until the sauce has thickened. Depending on the skillet you are using, it may take up to 15 minutes. The sauce should be able to coat the back of your wooden spoon. Stir through the parmesan cheese and remove the thyme sprigs.
- Stir through the cooked pasta and broccoli/broccolini. Top with mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs. Spray with olive oil spray.
- Transfer to an oven-safe dish if needed. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. If the top is still not golden after this time, set the oven to grill, and grill the top for 3-5 minutes (stay nice and close by to avoid the top burning, because this process will happen quickly).
Note 1 – I used farfalle (bowtie) pasta which has a 10 minute total cooking time on the packet instructions. I cooked the pasta for 6 minutes, added the broccoli to the same pot and cooked the pasta and broccolini an additional 2 minutes (8 minutes total) before draining, which is 2 minutes LESS than the packet instructions. This is important, as the pasta will continue to cook as it bakes.
MAKE AHEAD – Follow the recipe up until step 7. Cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge overnight to cook, bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through and golden.
LEFTOVERS – Refrigerate up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge overnight to reheat. Reheats exceptionally well and stays super creamy.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Category: Pasta
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: Italian