Mac and 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
  • 1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists
  • 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
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
  • Directions
  • 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.
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