Delicious, quick and family friendly, this Easy One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake is the perfect midweek meal. The pasta is cooked ‘al dente’, the chicken is tender, the fajita sauce just coats the pasta beautifully and the whole lot is covered with oozing, melted cheese. And the best part? It’s all done in one dish, so this recipe is easy on the washing up too 😀
I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of one pot meals – in fact so much so that I have been called ‘The Queen of One Pots’ on more than one occasion!! You can find lots of delicious one pot recipes on my site. For example, my One Pot Jamaican Jerk Chicken Rice and Beans, my Easy One Pot Chicken and Chorizo Paella and my One Pot Chorizo, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew.
However, one thing I have always been a bit cautious about is one pot pasta recipes…for the simple reason that I have always a bit dubious about cooking pasta in a small amount of sauce, not a large pot of boiling water.
The other thing that has always bothered me is the cook times of similar recipes I have seen on the internet. The length of time that such recipes suggest you should cook the pasta for is often rather alarming to say the least…this is coming from a girl who definitely likes her pasta ‘al dente’.
But the idea of One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake was too irresistible not to try. And so, I have been tinkering about with this recipe for a few months now – trying get the pasta cooking perfect, while not compromising on the quality of the sauce.
And I finally feel the recipe is good enough to share with you guys!
So how have I done it?
Well first I create some great flavours by marinating the chicken in the same delicious fajita marinade I use for my Easy Homemade Chicken Fajitas, and by cooking up some onions, garlic and bell peppers.
Then I add in the pasta and just enough liquid (passata plus water) to create the perfect amount of sauce in the finished dish – not too watery, not too dry, but also enough to cook the pasta properly.
Then I UNDERCOOK the pasta. This is really important. If you want the pasta in the finished dish to be cooked perfectly, you need to undercook the pasta at this stage. The funny thing I have found, though, is that pasta cooks more slowly in a small amount of sauce, compared to a large amount of water, so I actually found I was cooking the pasta for almost the same amount of time as I would normally – but the crucial thing at this stage is the pasta should taste underdone – test a piece if you are not sure.
Finally, the One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake is topped with cheese and popped in a super hot oven for just 10 minutes. This is enough to ensure the cheese is melted, but not so much as it turns the pasta to mush or makes the dish too dry.
And that’s it! The whole dish is ready in just 40 minutes – and only one pot to wash – yay!
Just a quick note on pots and pans. In order to make this dish truly a one pot dish you need to cook it in a wide, fairly deep pan that is both suitable to go on the stove and in the oven. I use my much loved Le Creuset style sauté pan for this. But anything will do so long as it can be used on the hob and in the oven. If you don’t have anything suitable, then you will need to transfer the dish from a saucepan to an oven dish for the final step.
This Easy One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake recipe can very easily be adapted to suit your preferences. You could make this with steak, mince or leftover chicken/beef/pork…or simply leave out the meat to make this veggie. Alternatively, you could add in a tin of kidney beans or some Quorn chicken pieces to the veggie version for extra protein.
There are lots of wine options here, but my favourite for this type of dish would be a soft, easy drinking, fruity red such as a Merlot or a Chianti. Alternatively, if you prefer white wine, a zingy, zesty Sauvignon Blanc from somewhere like New Zealand, Australia or the USA would work brilliantly!
Easy One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lime
Easy One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta
- 2 large chicken breasts diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 1 large onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 300 g fusilli pasta (or your favourite shape)
- 350 ml passata
- 650 ml water (use the empty passata jar to measure)
- 200 g cheddar cheese grated
- Green salad to serve
- Mix together all the marinade ingredients. Add the diced chicken and mix thoroughly to coat. Ideally put in the fridge and leave to marinate for 1-2 hours. Alternatively, if you don’t have the time, just continue with the recipe.
- Put the oil in a wide ovenproof pan and heat over a high heat for 1 minute. Add the marinated chicken and brown for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove the chicken from the pan and put on a plate.
- Turn down the heat under the pan and add the sliced onion and peppers. Fry for 3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Return the chicken and any juices to the pan, along with the pasta, passata and water. Bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice until the pasta is nearly al dente. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F.
- Remove the lid. Stir the pasta, then sprinkle over the cheddar cheese. Cook in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the pasta is cooked to your liking.
- Serve with a green salad.
Want more delicious chicken recipes? Find more here…
Love Mexican flavours? Find more Mexican Inspired Recipes here…
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