I struggle a bit with the whole melt-butter-and-add-flour concept; try as I might, I continuously have a grainy-ish consistency. After some discussion on my cooking message board, I realized that I should a) not use skim milk, b) throw in a slice or two of American, and c) not let the milk get too hot before I add in the cheese. I can't make any promises regarding (a), but we'll see how well the other two options pan out.
I don't have any cayenne pepper, so on a whim I grabbed allspice. Not too shabby!
Similar to the cookie incident, Ryan decided he couldn't wait for me to finish taking pictures before diving in:
- 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
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.