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Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese is one pot dinner made on the stove top, in less than 30 minutes. No extra pots or pans to wash up, and minimal work with simple ingredients. It will be hard to go back to regular Mac & Cheese after this…
Ingredients [ For 2 to 4 people ] [ Preparation time : 15 minute – Cooking time : 20 minutes ]
- 2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts pounded to the 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)
- 4 level tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups milk OR light cream
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- 10 ounces (300g) ounces elbow macaroni uncooked (3 cups!)
- 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 flavor as possible.
Stir the flour into the pot and allow to cook for a further minute. Then, add the broth, kinds of milk (or cream if using), 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). Turn off heat and add the spinach. Cover pot and allow the spinach to wilt through the sauce.
Take the pot off the stove and stir all of the cheese in quickly. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk (or cream) in 1/4 cup increments. Keep in mind though, the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Slice the chicken into strips and stir through the pasta (pour any juices left from the chicken). Sprinkle with parsley, and stir through. Serve immediately.