Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grilled Chicken Mac'n'Cheese

I got this recipe from my monthly Rachael Ray Everyday Food magazine.  I look forward to getting this magazine every month so I can read all the recipes start to finish.  Oddly enough I never try any of them.  So, I decided to go out on a limb and make this mac'n'cheese recipe.  I'll admit, it was a bit time consuming to make, but the finished product was delicious.  I loved the creamy cheese sauce (which I'm usually not a fan of) and the bacon gave it so much flavor!  It was even better the next day with some sauteed spinach.   

Grilled Chicken Mac'n'Cheese

  • 6 slices good-quality bacon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound whole wheat short-cut pasta ( I used Penne)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise and very thinly sliced
  • 2 rounded tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup cloudy apple cider or chicken stock
  • 2 cups whole milk (I used skim.  It's all I had).
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (didn't have this)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Arrange the bacon on a slotted broiler pan or on a rack placed over a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 15 minutes. Chop and reserve. Switch on the broiler and position the rack in the center of the oven.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook 1 minute less than the instructions indicate, or until just shy of al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta is working, heat a grill pan or cast iron griddle over medium-high heat. Drizzle the chicken with EVOO to coat lightly, then season evenly with the paprika, salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer to a cutting board and halve the pieces lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.

While the chicken cooks, melt the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until light golden, 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the cider (or stock), then the milk. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme and season with salt, pepper. Stir in the cheeses until melted.

Add the chicken, bacon and sauce to the pasta and transfer to a casserole. Broil until bubbling and browned, about 5 minutes.

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