Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Cook the pasta in a pan of lightly salted boiling water until it's almost done but still has some bite to it. Steam the broccoli over the pasta for the last 5 minutes
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and if you are using fresh chicken, fry until browned then set aside. Leftover chicken is already cooked so not needed yet.
Fry the leek over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the cream cheese and pesto to the pan and stir until melted.
Add the chicken, pasta and broccoli and stir together so the pasta is well coated in the sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Tip into an oven proof casserole dish and sprinkle the grated cheese and breadcrumbs over the top. For the breadcrumbs, you can blitz a few slices of bread in a food processor.
Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is browned.
A chicken and broccoli bake is a great dish for using up any leftover cooked chicken. You can use cooked chicken or raw chicken or a combination of both. Stir in any leftover cooked chicken at the end. Remember if you are using leftover chicken that you should only re-heat meat once.
I've used leeks and broccoli in this pasta bake but you could also use cauliflower, kale, mushrooms or peas or sweetcorn.
When it comes to pasta shapes, you can use any. I've used spirals in this recipe as they stick to the sauce well. Use whatever you have, or even a combination. When cooking the pasta, as with all pasta bakes, you should cook the pasta until it is almost done but still has a little bite to it. This is because the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
For the topping, I like to use a cheddar cheese as it adds extra flavour. It's best if you grate the cheese yourself rather than buying it in bags pre-grated as it will melt better.
Sprinkling over breadcrumbs is a great way to make sure bread doesn't go to waste. Breadcrumbs store well in the freezer and you can use straight from frozen.
If you are using fresh chicken, you can prepare this pasta bake in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. If cooking straight from the fridge, add an extra 5 minutes to the cooking time. Make sure it's piping hot when re-heated. When re-heating, cover the top with foil to prevent the top from burning. Re-heat in the oven at 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 for 20 - 25 minutes.This version doesn't freeze very well due to the cream cheese. It is perfectly safe, but the texture is ot the same and the cream cheese can turn a bit grainy in texture when frozen.