Sunday, 15 June 2014

Sun Dried Tomato and Chili Penne Bake

Somehow I struggle of deciding what to make for diner each and every cooking day. All week I'm reading about food, looking at food, and photographing food but the inspiration lacks when it actual comes down to the nitty gritty of choosing. So, today's recipes comes from not really knowing what to cook after deciding on one thing and then on another. It is good in a way, as I used up some things in the pantry I had forgotten about and the taste of the final dish was on point.

In this recipe I used a packet of Cream of Broccoli soup which I added to the white sauce base, for extra taste and smoothness. I became obsessed with Cream of Broccoli soup when I was in Madinah, Saudi Arabia and have bought packets since to satisfy my craving! By adding condensed soup or dry soup mix to a simple white sauce base elevates the flavour profile to another level with very minimal effort. 

  • 1 large chicken breast, thinly sliced and lightly salted
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp + 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 full tsp minced garlic
  • 1 pkt cream of broccoli soup
  • 2 1/2 C milk
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 1/3 C sundried tomatoes, sliced 
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese, grated
  • handful of cheddar cheese, grated
  • 250g penne pasta
  1. In a medium sized saucepan melt 1 tbsp butter and oil. Add the chicken breast and cook until seared. Do not cook the chicken through as it will continue to cook in the oven.
  2. Remove the chicken from the saucepan and set aside. Leave the juices in the saucepan and add the remaining butter, melting over medium heat. 
  3. In a pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until 3 minutes before al dente, strain and set aside.
  4. Add the garlic and stir. Slowly add in the flour, whisking as you go to ensure no lumps remain.
  5. Pour in milk in 1/2C batches, mixing well in between each addition. 
  6. Sprinkle over the cream of broccoli soup mix, stirring to combine. 
  7. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, remove from the heat and add in the tomatoes, chicken and Parmesan cheese. 
  8. Add the pasta in batches, stirring as you go. Add enough pasta to fill the sauce but not so much that it becomes dry. Most important thing is for the dish to be creamy and smooth. Remembering also that it will dry a little in the oven.
  9. Transfer into a large baking dish and layer the cheddar cheese on top.
  10. Bake in a 175C oven (no fan) for 20-30 minutes.
  11. Serve with my Summer salad or your preferred side.