Creamy Cauliflower and Chicken Farfalle Pasta Bake
Yields: about 6-8 servings Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes
Packed with veggies, this bake has a creamy sauce that tastes rich and comforting, yet is lightened up and homemade in a snap!
3/4 pound diced chicken breast
1 cup diced Portobello mushroom
1 1/2 cup diced cauliflower
10 ounces farfalle pasta (or preferred pasta, can be gluten free for gluten free recipe)
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup stock
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese for sprinkling over top
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine diced chicken, diced mushrooms, diced cauliflower, minced shallots, in a sauté pan with olive oil, salt, paprika and onion powder. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add 1/2 cup stock. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
3. Add arrowroot flour, sprinkling into the mixture, careful it doesn’t clump. Add butter, 1/4 cup stock and whole milk. Slowly bring to a low boil until sauce thickens.
4. Remove from heat and gently stir in 1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
5. In a greased 9 x 13 (ish) sized dish, pour cooked pasta in. Cover with mushroom and cauliflower cheese sauce.
6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 375 minutes for 20 -30 minutes (on the shorter side if making all at one time, and the latter time if you make ahead and refrigerate until baking).
7. Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes and enjoy!
As the school year is well underway, I’m slowly starting to get my schedule set. It’s only November, so I’m doing great, right?!? I’ve started to realize I can use the hour and 15 minutes (OK, maybe 30 minutes) in the morning, I have a few days a week and prep dinner so it’s ready when I need to pop it in the oven between piano and violin lessons.
And although I’ve realized this now, I’ve only just started to actually employ it. And this is one of those recipes. I whipped it together in the morning and put it in the fridge until dinnertime. All of the ingredients are cooked, so the final oven stage is simply to warm and blend the flavors, lightly crisping the top.
Cauliflower and mushrooms blend perfectly with a homemade creamy cheese sauce. I like to keep things on the lighter side, so it is a healthier dish. You could always add heavier dairy, more milk and cheese for a gooier dish. Equally, you could pack some more mushrooms and cauliflower if you like things really veggie packed!
We like mushrooms, especially Portobello, and so I can leave them in diced. You could always finely mince them to keep the flavor but minimize texture issues. Mushrooms are loaded with nutrients, especially beneficial for immunity. Cauliflower is a mild tasting vegetable, which allows is to mix really well with cheese or creamy sauces. As far as nutritional benefits, it really delivers! Fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C as well as vitamin K, potassium and magnesium.
As for the farfalle (or bowtie) pasta, it just is fun. It also captures the creamy sauce really well. Even the next day, it was a great healthy lunch for me!