Traditionally poppy seeds are sprinkled over breads and in cakes to give a sweet and nutty flavour. We decided to reinvent the poppy seed as a crusted topping for our creamy chicken pasta bake. Just keep a toothpick handy for any rogue seeds, particularly if it is date night!
Boxes and ingredients are packed in facilities that handles Peanut, Nuts, Sesame, Fish, Crustaceans, Milk, Egg, Mustard, Celery, Soya, Gluten and Sulphites. Due to the conflict in Ukraine, it has been necessary to substitute sunflower oil with rapeseed oil in some products without a label change. The FSA have advised that allergic reactions to rapeseed oil are rare.
Wheat Rigatoni Pasta(ContainsCereals containing gluten)
Chicken Stock Pot
Panko Breadcrumbs(ContainsCereals containing gluten)
Grated Hard Italian Style Cheese(ContainsMilk, Egg)
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees and put a large pot of water on to boil (we will use this for the pasta). Pop the chicken in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Pull the leaves from the thyme and roughly chop. Mix half of your thyme with your chicken.
Heat a frying pan over high heat. When the pan is hot (no need to add any oil), carefully lay your chicken in the pan and cook for 2 mins on each side golden brown on both sides. Transfer your chicken to a deep sided baking tray and pop in your oven for 12-15 mins. Don’t wash the frying pan, we will use it later.
When your pot of water comes to the boil, add a generous pinch of salt along with the rigatoni and cook for 11 mins. When your pasta is cooked, drain into a colander and then return to the pot off the heat.
As your chicken and pasta cook, get on with the rest of your prep. Chop the root off the leek and thinly slice it into ½cm rounds. Peel and grate the garlic (use a garlic press if you have one!). Reheat the frying pan you used earlier, on medium heat and add a splash of oil. Add your leek and cook for 5 mins or until softened. Add your garlic and remaining thyme leaves and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the chicken stock pot and the water (as specified in the ingredient list) and bring to the boil. Pour in the double cream and bring your sauce back to the boil. Stir in the baby spinach and cook for 2 mins or until your spinach has wilted. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Keep to one side off the heat.
Next, make the crust. Mix the breadcrumbs with the poppy seeds, hard Italian cheese and the olive oil (as specified in the ingredient list). Mix well and season with a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper.
When your chicken is cooked, keep it warm, wrapped in foil in the baking tray. Tip: The chicken is cooked when the centre is no longer pink.
Switch your grill to high heat. Mix your pasta with your sauce. Remove your chicken from the baking tray and then spoon in your pasta and sauce. Pop your chicken on top of your pasta and sprinkle with your poppy seed crust. Put the tray back under your grill and cook for 2-3 mins or until golden brown.
Serve immediately and enjoy!