I saw the new picks for the Dinner Diva's cooking club online and thought this particular dish sounded easy and full of flavor. Plus, it has some of my favorite ingredients - cheese and broccoli! So, with that said, the dish I made was Rachael Ray's Mac and Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 pound chicken breast tenders, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists
- 2 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, available packaged in the produce department at the grocery store
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 cups whole milk- I didn't have whole milk so I used 1 cup cream and 2 cups 2%
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 cups yellow sharp cheddar
- 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
- I added 3 cloves of minced fresh garlic
PreparationPlace a pot of water on to boil for macaroni.
Heat a medium pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add EVOO, about two turns of the pan, and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Sauté a couple of minutes, then add onion and cook another 5-7 minutes until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn off heat and reserve.
To boiling pasta water, add pasta and salt to season the cooking water. Cook five minutes, then add broccoli and cook three minutes more or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add butter and melt, then add flour, cayenne and paprika and whisk together over heat until roux bubbles; then cook a minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat a little to bring sauce to a quick boil. Simmer sauce to thicken, about five minutes.
Drain macaroni or pasta and broccoli florets. Add back to pot and add chicken to the pasta and broccoli.
Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so. Stir in mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli and cooked pasta and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings, transfer to a large serving platter and serve.
I thought the sauce was still too thin at the end of cooking...but it did thicken some when combined with the pasta, broccoli and chicken. Overall, it was a good dish and made a TON of food, so we'll definitely have leftovers. I'm not sure I would call this an EXCELLENT dish, but it was pretty solid and I would make it again.