Pasta bakes make a hearty meal that you can often prepare in advance. This creamy pumpkin, chicken and pesto pasta recipe is simple and tasty. The chicken really rounds the dish and the pesto adds great flavour – your guests will get stuck into a seriously tasty baked pasta.
600g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into 2cm pieces
1/3 cup plain flour
2 x 375ml cans light and creamy evaporated milk
1/3 cup basil pesto
50g baby spinach
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
150g fresh ricotta, crumbled
1/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan
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Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Grease a 12-cup-capacity baking dish. Place pumpkin and onion, in a single layer, on prepared baking tray. Spray with oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Reduce oven temperature to 180C/160C fan-forced.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain. Return to pan.
Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Add flour. Stir to coat. Reduce heat to low. Add milk. Cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in pesto.
Add pumpkin, onion, spinach, chicken mixture and tasty cheese to pasta. Stir to combine. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Top with ricotta and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes before serving.