Kavey’s Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake

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

Serves 4

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.

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  • 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.

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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:


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23 Comments to "Kavey’s Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake"

  1. Kathryn

    One of my friends used to make something similar and it was so delicious. I haven’t eaten it for ages but I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and knock this version up!

  2. Franglais kitchen, Nazima

    Chicken and Tarragon go so well together, and I am a great mac cheese fan so this is right up my street, perfect comfort food and a good way to use roast chicken leftovers. Love the crispy topping too – anything with breadcrumbs suits me just fine! I have some little le creuset pots waiting for a good use and I think this will be one to try out.

  3. Erin

    made this this evening for dinner, big success!
    The whole family absolutely loved it, so delicious, and a perfect way to use up cooked chicken.


    Thank you Erin, so happy the whole family enjoyed it! And thank you so much for letting me know, it means a lot to hear back on how people get on with my recipes!

  4. Anna

    Lovely recipe. The sauce with cream, parmesan and tarragon is really delicious and would be great on its own poured over a cooked chicken breast. Thank you Kavey! Definitely a recipe which will be used many times!!


    Thanks Anna, yes I think that would be much like chicken Savoyard, one of the dishes that inspired this one, to an extent!! 👍

  5. Jude

    Can’t get my kids to eat the ‘brown’ leg meat from the roast chicken so this is the ideal way to use it up. I was searching for a recipe that chopped the meat up small and was so pleased when I found this. Have made it twice and it has gone down a treat both times. The last time I didn’t have any cream so just used milk and a bit extra Parmesan and it was still delicious, if a bit less decadent! Thank you for a great recipe 🙂


    So lovely to hear that you’ve enjoyed my recipe and also that it’s giving you a way to serve up the brown meat and have the family enjoy it. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know!

  6. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com

    Kavey, I’m with you; I like the tarragon to be quite subtle. The predominant flavor here should be chicken, right? This looks like something my husband will like. I feel fortunate that he likes casseroles, because I grew up with a no-casseroles-allowed father.


    No casseroles allowed? But that one word covers so very many very different dishes! I wonder what put your dad off them so much? Yes, indeed on the tarragon – clearly there but not overwhelming, though of course folks can up it if they like! Hope you and the husband enjoy this one!

  7. Lynn Anderson

    Just made this for about the tenth time. Delicious as always. I add fresh tarragon, some sweet corn, green beans and broad beans to the pot for a complete dinner! Thanks for the recipe.


    Ah that makes me so happy, thank you for taking the time to come back and let me know. Really appreciate it!

  8. TimFG

    Tried this tonight after following a link to it from a Guardian ‘things to do with leftover roast chicken’ article. Felt the tried and tested Nigel Slater risotto could be given a miss for once. Fantastic recipe! Simple, silky, indulgent, look forward to doing it on a crisp Autumn evening. Your quantities were spot on too. Served it with a cheap bag of ‘use by today’ Italian Salad Leaves from Sainsburys and whizzed up some mustard dressing in the blender whilst it was in the oven. Might substitute a small glass of white wine for some of the stock next time, but suspect it doesn’t really need it 🙂


    Tim, what a lovely comment, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how much you enjoyed the recipe. I do try to ensure that amounts and instructions are accurate so your comment really makes me happy!

  9. dorinad

    comfort food..so tasty..thank you! I look forward for your recipes…do you have a blog? Wish you all the best and thanks again


  10. Jenny Duff

    Really easy to make. Leaving out the salt it’s perfect baby and toddler food, there wasn’t a moment of hesitation when my grandson tucked into it. I chopped it up with scissors before he ate it so that there weren’t any big chicken pieces in there and the pasta was a bit smaller. I had boiled up the chicken carcass to make the stock so again no salt. Later in the evening, it heated up again really well for adults to eat and they loved it too. I think it’s the addition of the parmesan that makes it have a good depth of taste. Thanks for the recipe.


    Delighted you and your grandson both enjoyed it, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know, makes me so happy to hear!


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