This Chicken Cordon Bleu pasta bake is an easy way to get all the flavours from the classic dish everyone loves into a comforting pasta bake.
I had this thing with Chicken Cordon Bleu when I was a little girl. It was my ultimate indulgence when we went out for meals and if a restaurant had it on its menu, I would order it without fail. There was something so incredibly chic about it back then. The name, trying to pronounce it, the way the cheese oozed out of the hot, crispy chicken. All of it was just too much for my 10-year old self to handle. But I hadn’t eaten this childhood favourite in probably 15 years and when I went through an old cookbook of mine, I stumbled upon this classic once again.
And even though Chicken Cordon Bleu is not a difficult recipe to master by any means, I just don’t have the want or will to stand stuffing chicken breasts before breading and cooking them. I wanted all the same flavours but in an easy, no-fuss way and that’s when I decided to do a pasta bake. Pasta bakes are a constant in my house. They are easy and they can feed a crowd easily so I knew this would be an instant hit. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I took shortcuts with the actual Chicken Cordon Bleu element, I also bought a rotisserie chicken to use instead of cooking chicken from scratch. But listen, you gotta do what you gotta do. And I am a big fan of using rotisserie chickens for dishes like these.
Along with the shredded chicken, I added cubes of smoked beech ham and a few layers of mozzarella to emulate that oozy cheese. I topped the pasta with a layer of seasoned breadcrumbs to add that crispy crunch. I used a loaf of stale ciabatta which resulted in lovely chunky crumbs. So simple, SO delicious and a recipe my family gobbled up within minutes.
The beautiful dish used in these photographs was gifted to me by the lovely people at Kitchen Aid South Africa. This post is not sponsored.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1-2 cups milk I used full cream milk/whole milk
- pinch of grated/ground nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt & pepper to taste
- 500 g pasta of your choice cooked (reserve 1 cup of cooking water)
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup smoked ham cubed
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- salt to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan then add the flour and stir to make a roux.
Slowly whisk in the stock and milk (you might not need all the liquid) until the sauce is smooth. Lower the heat and allow to simmer, stirring every now and then, until the sauce is cooked through and thick.
Season with the spices.
Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta, shredded chicken and ham. Add a little of the pasta's cooking water to loosen the sauce.
Layer in an oven-proof dish with the cheese.
Season the breadcrumbs with olive oil, thyme leaves and salt then place on top of the pasta.
Place the pasta in the oven and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the pasta is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then serve.