Mac and Cheese with Cheddar and Broccoli

Posted by CHEF on 1/29/2014 to Cooking Tips

Are you looking for the warmth and comfort of macaroni and cheese, but bored with the dated versions? Surprise your family and friends with this spruced-up mac and cheese dish jam-packed with bold flavors and the addition of seasoned chicken and broccoli florets. It's sure to be a fan favorite in any household. And best of all? It's a quick dish at a total prep and cook time of only 35 minutes, it's easy requiring no uncommon ingredients, and yields a whopping six servings. Leftovers, anyone? That's if you even have them.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound chicken breast tenders, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists
2 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, fresh
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups yellow cheddar, sharp
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

To Prepare:

Boil large pot of water over stove for macaroni to cook.

While the water boils, heat a medium saucepan over medium to medium high heat on the stovetop. (I love my Chantal Copper Fusion saucepan for this recipe. Or any recipe, actually. It's my go-to. Found here: http://www.kitchenemporium.com/Chantal-Copper-Fusion-3QT-Sauce-Pan_p_875.html) Heat the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute the chicken for a couple of minutes and then add the onion. Cook for about another 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat and reserve cooked chicken on the side.

Your water should be boiling by now. Add pasta and a pinch salt to season the cooking water. Cook 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. (I use my Paderno sauce pot for all of my thick sauces like this. Nothing beats it, believe me). Add the butter and melt. Then add the flour, cayenne, and paprika. Whisk together thoroughly over heat until roux begins to bubble. Then cook one minute more. Quickly whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Then raise heat just a little to bring sauce to a quick boil. Simmer sauce until it thickens, about 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta and broccoli florets completely. Put back into pot and add the reserved cooked chicken to the mixture.

Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so. Stir in the mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli and cooked pasta and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to your preferred taste and transfer to a large serving platter.

Last but never ever least, dig in and enjoy!

Taken from Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals.

My Favorite Tools:

Chantal Copper Fusion Saucepan:
http://www.kitchenemporium.com/Chantal-Copper-Fusion-3QT-Sauce-Pan_p_875.html

Paderno Saucepot:
http://www.kitchenemporium.com/Paderno-11007-24-Sauce-Pot-6-78-qt-Stainless-Steel_p_6740.html