Do you ever envisage a new dish in your head, hoping it will be as delicious as you imagine? And when you make it, it’s even better? I can’t pretend it’s something that happens often – more often there are tweaks to be made… or rarely, the idea is quietly binned and never mentioned again – but now and again success strikes and makes me insufferably chuffed with myself.
So it was with this Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake.
In my mind were a number of recipes we enjoy, from macaroni cheese to chicken savoyarde to the penne al forno at my local Italian.
Once the idea for my new dish popped into my head, all we needed was to enjoy a roast chicken dinner (oh, the hardship) and follow that, as usual, by stripping the leftover meat off the carcass and popping the remaining skin, bones and tendons into the slow cooker with water overnight to make stock.
Kavey’s Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake
250 grams dried macaroni-style pasta
50 grams white breadcrumbs (we used Panko)
300 grams leftover roast chicken meat, chopped small
50 grams butter
40 grams plain flour
600 ml chicken stock, slightly warmed
175 ml double cream
50 grams Parmesan or other strong hard cheese, grated
2 heaped teaspoons French mustard
2 level teaspoons dried tarragon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Note: For the pasta, choose any of the small hollow tube shapes. We chose chifferi rigati by De Cecco, which are short ridged elbow-shaped tubes.
Note: We like the tarragon flavour to be understated. If you like it strong, add an extra teaspoon or two of dried tarragon.
Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F).
Put the pasta on to cook. When ready, drain, rinse and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Keep the heat low to medium, to avoid browning.
Add the chicken stock and cream and stir thoroughly.
Add the cheese, mustard and tarragon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Cook for a further 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens a little.
Once the sauce is ready, add the chicken and the drained pasta and stir thoroughly.
Transfer into an oven-proof casserole dish.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the surface.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crumbs on top are golden brown.
Serve hot with a crispy green salad.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Do let me know how you like it!
Other delicious and simple recipes from Kavey Eats:
- Quick Golden-Baked Peri Peri Chicken, Yoghurt & Rice Cake – use ready cooked rice for a speedy but impressive meal
- The Röstizza: A Potato Rösti Pizza Base – try this novel pizza base, great for gluten-free diets
- Parmesan & Paprika Potato Waffles – a great way to be more adventurous with your waffle machine
- Chorizo, Pumpkin & Spinach Giant Couscous Salad – just a few ingredients in this quick, warm salad