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Broccoli bacon and chicken bake with pasta

Broccoli bacon and chicken bake with pasta

Broccoli bacon and chicken bake with pasta
Recipe by: Boitumelo 'ChewMe' Mogoai

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 35 min

Ingredients

200g bacon , chopped
1 medium onion , diced3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese , divided
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
16 oz box dried medium pasta shells , cooked according to package directions
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken, (pre cooked)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
 
Method

Preheat oven to 180 C degrees.  In a large, oven-safe skillet, cook bacon over med heat until crisp.  Transfer to a plate, reserving grease in skillet.  Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon grease.

To the same skillet, add diced onion and cook 4-5 minutes, until soft.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring very often.  Add this to plate with the bacon. Add broccoli to the same skillet and cook 2-3 minutes, until very bright green and heated through. 

Again, add the broccoli to the plate with bacon. Back in the skillet, melt butter, then add flour and whisk to combine.  Slowly pour in milk and cream, whisking until all flour mixture is incorporated.

Cook, whisking very often, until mixture has thickened (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in 1 3/4 cups of mozzarella cheese and the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese until melted.  Add in cooked pasta, shredded chicken, bacon, onion, broccoli, salt and pepper. 

Stir until combined.  Top with remaining 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake 15 minutes, then broil on high for 1-2 minutes to brown cheese (optional). 

Serve hot and enjoy

Note
This is the perfect dish to pack in as many veggies as possible for those fussy little eaters. You could even thicken the sauce and make easy lunch bites by chilling the  cooked mixture over night wrapped in plastic wrap and flattened with a tray then cut into cubes then bread and fry.

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