Last Made: 2018-01-02
Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese
- 2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts pounded to 1-inch thickness (or 4 boneless and skinless chicken thigh fillets)
- salt and pepper, to season
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smokey)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon oil, divided (use olive or canola oil)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic finely diced
- 1/3 cup white wine OPTIONAL (use chicken broth instead if you wish)
- 9 oz (250g) jarred sun dried tomato strips in oil (reserve 2 tablespoons of oil and drain the rest)
- 3 level tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups milk OR light cream* or half and half, divided
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- 10 ounces (300g) elbow macaroni uncooked (3 cups cooked)
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup grated cheese Cheddar or Gruyere
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, dried parsley and 2 teaspoons of the oil. Heat the remaining oil in a large (30cm or 12-inch) pot or pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden brown, cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Transfer chicken to a warm plate, tent with foil and set aside.
- To the same pan, add the butter and fry the onion and garlic until the onion becomes transparent, stirring occasionally (about 2 minutes). Pour in the white wine and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, or until beginning to reduce down.
- Add the sun dried tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the sun dried tomato oil from the jar and cook for 1-2 minutes to release as much flavour as possible.
- Stir the flour into the pot and allow to cook for a further minute. Then, add the broth, 2 1/2 cups of milks (or cream/half and half), herbs, salt and pepper, and bring to a very low simmer (lower the heat if you need to).
- Add the dry macaroni and stir occasionally as it comes to a simmer. Reduce heat down to medium low and stir regularly while it cooks (for about 9 - 10 minutes), or until the sauce thickens and the macaroni is just cooked (al dente: tender but still firm). Add the spinach and stir through until wilted.
- Take the pot off the stove and stir all of the cheese in quickly. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce it too thick, add the remaining 1/2 cup milk (or cream) in 1/4 cup increments, until reaching desired thickness. Keep in mind the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Slice the chicken into strips and stir through the pasta (pour in any juices left from the chicken). Sprinkle with parsley, and stir through. Serve immediately!