When I was a kid, it took my parents more than a little work to get me to eat cheese. Of course, I later came to find that I loved it, so I've spent the last few years trying to make up for lost time. This mac-and-cheese is deliciously cheesy, and the broccoli and chicken flavors really enhance the flavor of the cheddar. It's very rich and easily a complete meal.
Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli
4 chicken breasts
12 ounces small cut pasta
1 (1 pound) bag frozen broccoli
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, rub lightly with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat (in a grill pan) until cooked through. Cut into bite-size pieces and set aside.
3. Boil the pasta according to the package directions. In the last 3-4 minutes of cooking time, toss the broccoli in with the pasta to thaw and warm through. Drain and set aside.
4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and lightly saute the garlic and onion. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two, until lightly toasted.
5. Slowly whisk in the milk and turn the heat to high. When the milk comes to a simmer, mix in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Add the chicken, pasta and broccoli to the cheese sauce, then transfer to a large baking dish (13x9 might not be large enough - I usually split between two 11x7). Bake for 20 minutes.
Today, I'm reading... The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, and Sexual Power of Red Hair, by Marion Roach.