About this recipe:A healthy, quick and easy family meal, this hearty bake combines ready-cooked chicken and wholemeal pasta in a cheesy sauce. Including little broccoli florets is a great way to encourage children to enjoy this super-nourishing vegetable as part of their five-a-day target.
250 g wholemeal penne (pasta quills) or other pasta shapes
250 g broccoli
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
4 cooked chicken breast fillets (about 350 g in total)
2 cups (500 ml) low-fat milk
¼ cup (30 g) cornflour
¾ cup (85 g) grated mature cheese, such as gouda, smoked cheddar or vintage cheddar
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10–12 minutes or according to the packet instructions, until tender. Trim the broccoli into small florets and slice the stalks. Add all the broccoli and the leeks to the pasta for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking.
When just tender, drain well, reserving about 1 cup (250 ml) of the cooking water. Tip the pasta and vegetables into a large ovenproof dish. Skin the chicken and cut into small chunks and add to the dish.
Blend a little of the milk with the cornflour to a paste in a jug. Heat the remaining milk and reserved cooking water in the same saucepan until on the point of boiling. Pour about a cupful onto the cornflour paste and stir well, then pour this into the simmering milky water and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until it thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the mature cheese. Season to taste.
Pour the sauce over the pasta, stirring gently with a fork. Nestle the tomato halves into the mixture, then sprinkle with the parmesan, oregano and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and crispy on top. Serve hot.