Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese is a ONE POT dinner made on the stove top, in less than 30 minutes! No extra pots or pans to wash up, and minimal work with simple ingredients!
It will be hard to go back to regular Mac and Cheese after this! Here’s the thing; garlic + sun dried tomatoes + parmesan cheese + mozzarella cheese + spinach + creamy sauce + topped with pan seared chicken = SO MUCH FLAVOUR in this ONE POT!
Since publishing this Garlic Parmesan Mac And Cheese last year, most readers have been asking me to create another similar recipe, but with MORE stuff added. This is the direction my brain went in because it’s apparent how much you all love Tuscan. NOT traditional Tuscan cuisine — please don’t yell at me — but Tuscan from Olive Garden. If you’ve been following me for a while now, you also know how much I twist things: Creamy Garlic Butter Tuscan Shrimp, Creamy Garlic Butter Tuscan Salmon. See where I’m going here?
Although this Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese is made in one pot, the pasta is perfectly coated in a silky smooth sauce filled to the brim with as much cheese as you want! I did consider boiling the pasta first and then removing it, then starting on the sauce, but I also know how much my readers love easy recipes that you can just throw together in one pot or on a sheet pan.
For this Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese I used Parmesan, mozzarella and a touch of cheddar, but you can use whatever cheese you feel will taste good with this. You can also add sliced mushrooms, pork instead of chicken, chicken thighs OR breasts, zucchini if you wish, diced eggplant, fire roasted peppers instead of sun dried tomatoes…the choices are endless!
How To Make Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese (in One Pot AND on Stove Top)!
- Choose a large pan to fit everything in and avoid unnecessary spillage (anything above 30-cm or 12-inches, or over 6-quart is perfect).
- You are going to sear your chicken first. As I mentioned above, you can use skinless and boneless chicken thighs OR breasts. We prefer thighs in this, but breasts are just as good if you don’t like dark meat.
- You’re going to use dry pasta. YES DRY! No need to pre-boil anything.
- For the sake of keeping this Mac n Cheese as close to the traditional Mac N Cheese we all love, I use butter as the base. You CAN use oil if you like! I also retain 2 tablespoons of the oil that the sun dried tomatoes come in. You can use more or less if you like, but I LOVE the flavour in that oil!
- I use white wine in this as I LOVE the flavour it adds, but you can add chicken broth instead!
The Sauce Is Everything!
- I choose to use flour in the sauce to also keep the Mac n cheese tradition alive and well. It does not necessarily create a roux, but it’s similar in taste. If you find lumps from the flour after you first add it in, DON’T WORRY. They do eventually cook through when you add the liquids in and they begin to heat up.
- When you add your liquids, stir the flour through really well. You’ll see it begin to thicken with the heat. Then when you add your pasta, you do need to regularly stir it so it doesn’t end up in one big lump of a mess. Stir it every minute or so and watch the magic unfold!
- As soon as the pasta is al dente (not too soft), take it off the heat! Remember, it will continue to cook in the hot sauce, and you don’t want to end up with mushy pasta.
- Have fun with the cheese you choose! Or follow the recipe and use what we have.
- Remember to taste test and adjust salt and pepper to your tastes!
- I didn’t add a crumb topping to this, but you can if you wish! Just make sure you start in an oven-proof dish, that way you don’t need to transfer anything. Use the crumb from this recipe.
- For a deeper cream flavour, add in 1/2 cup light cream or heavy cream if you prefer right before adding in the spinach!
Silky, creamy, super cheesy….this Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese will become your new favourite!
WATCH US MAKE Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese (One Pot, Stove Top) RIGHT HERE
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Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese is a ONE POT dinner made on the stove top, in less than 30 minutes! No extra pots or pans to wash up, and minimal work with simple ingredients! It will be hard to go back to regular Mac and Cheese after this!
- 2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts pounded to 1-inch thickness (or 4 boneless and skinless chicken thigh fillets)
- Salt and pepper, to season
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smokey)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon oil, divided (use olive or canola oil)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic finely diced
- 1/3 cup white wine OPTIONAL (use chicken broth instead if you wish)
- 9 oz (250g) jarred sun dried tomato strips in oil (reserve 2 tablespoons of oil and drain the rest)
- 3 level tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups milk OR light cream* or half and half, divided
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- 10 ounces (300g) elbow macaroni uncooked (3 cups!)
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup grated cheese Cheddar or Gruyere
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, dried parsley and 2 teaspoons of the oil. Heat the remaining oil in a large (30cm or 12-inch) pot or pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden brown, cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Transfer chicken to a warm plate, tent with foil and set aside.
To the same pan, add the butter and fry the onion and garlic until the onion becomes transparent, stirring occasionally (about 2 minutes). Pour in the white wine and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, or until beginning to reduce down.
Add the sun dried tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the sun dried tomato oil from the jar and cook for 1-2 minutes to release as much flavour as possible.
Stir the flour into the pot and allow to cook for a further minute. Then, add the broth, 2 1/2 cups of milks (or cream/half and half), herbs, salt and pepper, and bring to a very low simmer (lower the heat if you need to).
Add the dry macaroni and stir occasionally as it comes to a simmer. Reduce heat down to medium low and stir regularly while it cooks (for about 9 - 10 minutes), or until the sauce thickens and the macaroni is just cooked (al dente: tender but still firm). Add the spinach and stir through until wilted.
Take the pot off the stove and stir all of the cheese in quickly. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce it too thick, add the remaining 1/2 cup milk (or cream) in 1/4 cup increments, until reaching desired thickness. Keep in mind the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Slice the chicken into strips and stir through the pasta (pour in any juices left from the chicken). Sprinkle with parsley, and stir through. Serve immediately!
*full fat milk preferred for maximum flavour, but a low fat milk is ok. You can also use a light cream, heavy cream or evaporated milk.
**For added cream flavour, add in 1/2 cup light cream (or heavy cream if you wish), right before right before adding in the spinach. Allow it to get hot before adding in the spinach!
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