Recipe: Gourmet Mac and Cheese
Like everyone and their mother, I’m on a New Years health regime. I’m drinking less, exercising more, and trying to be mildly thoughtful about what I put into my body.
Unlike everyone and their mother though, I’m going to admit I don’t really like it. I know that I’m supposed to say that I feel so much better when consuming lots of kale and chard, that I sleep like a baby, and have skin like a dewy blossom on a summer morning, but I don’t. I like cheese, and pasta, and a big burger, and an even bigger Cab Franc. It’s true.
Alas, as is often the case, the trick to successful life changes is balance and moderation, so amidst the healthy breakfasts and walking lunches, there have to be a few moments of indulgence thrown in.
This Gourmet Mac and Cheese is sinfully delicious. Perfectly cooked pasta, nestles in among a sharp cheese sauce, punctuated with flavor pops through the sun-dried tomatoes, and brought to an element of elegance via the chicken and mushrooms. It freezes beautifully, so you can either make half now, and freeze half for later, or bake it all now, and freeze individual portions in foil for a lazy weeknight dinner. That is…if there’s any left.
What are you doing this January to start the year off right?
Gourmet Mac and Cheese
- 6 tablespoons butter
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups 2% milk
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 400. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
- In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
- Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. If cooking one now and one later, divide between two, 2-quart baking dishes. Otherwise, put all into an 11×17 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
- Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Category Cheap Eats, Comfort Foods, Make ahead, News, Pasta | Tags: easy make ahead dinners, elegant mac and cheese, gourmet mac and cheese, kid friendly make ahead dinners, mac and cheese, make ahead mac and cheese