I had the honour of being on the judging panel at the International Cheese Awards this year, can you believe it? I donned a white coat and hat with the cheese experts and hit the halloumi category to try 19 slices of halloumi and then onto a mixed category where I tried to pick between 14 beautiful truckle/wheel cheeses. After judging I got to tour the hundreds of cheese makers and providers who were showing off their wares. One of the brands I discovered is Dziugas who I had never heard of before. This Lithuanian cheese is fairly new to the market with three different ages at which it is sold – mild (over 12 months) piquant (over 18 months) and gourmet (over 36 months) with the flavour developing deeper as the cheese ages.
They also produce this grated mix which is really smooth yet also mature tasting with a very distinct flavour. It is perfect for homemade pizzas but I have been using it where I would normally have grated cheese and my chicken pasta bake is no exception! It also got a thumbs up from my friend’s 7 year old son so that is a definite bonus. I hope you enjoy it, make sure you let me know in the comments and also let me know if you make any changes that I might need to try.
Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake – Serves 4
1 onion – finely diced
1 red pepper – finely diced
1 jar of passata
250g pasta, any shape although I do like fusilli
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 chicken breasts – chopped into cubes
150 grams of cheese
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or equivalent.
Heat a little oil in a large pan, fry the onions until soft and add the chicken cooking until brown. Add the passata, peppers, herbs, garlic and chilli and fry together until well mixed.
Boil a pan of water and and add the pasta cooking until al dente. Put the pasta in a large dish and add the chicken with sauce, stir until well combined and top with the cheese. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Enjoy with garlic bread for a real treat.
Contains PR Samples