Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dinner Divas - Mac & Cheddar Cheese w/ Chicken and Broccoli

So for my next Dinner Divas trick, I decided to do Rach's recipe. AS USUAL I didn't follow the recipe to a T, but made my own adjustments. They are listed below.

Rach's Mac & Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 pound chicken breast tenders, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped (I used about a quarter onion because I don't like them)
1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists (I used a fantastic noodle called Casarecce from the local Italian market because I couldn't find cavatapi)
2 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, available packaged in produce department
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I don't have this, oops)
1 teaspoon paprika (don't have this either, I suck at this)
3 cups whole milk (I didn't have whole milk either, and realized that I only had two cups of skim milk halfway through, so I used a cup of heavy cream to make up)
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar (I got a block of cheddar, 8 oz was about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard

Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni.
Heat a medium pan over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute a couple of minutes then add onion and cook another 5 to 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 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.

While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot 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 5 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.

VERDICT: like one of the other commenters on this meal, I found the flavor a bit lacking, so ended up dumping sea salt like mad, something hubs isn't happy about (but he wasn't here when I was eating, so I got away with it, mua ha ha). It was nice and creamy though, and the broccoli with the cheddar was fab! So, three out of four stars from me. For hubs, this was his favorite so far (better than the mandarin chicken of Monday).

Here are two pictures I attempted to take, the lighting in my house is not the best so let me know which one you like better! he he.

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