Thursday, November 11, 2010
Baked Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli
Lately, the scale is tipping towards strongly dislike. Today, I had a short list and ran into Trader Joe's while big sister was at her gym class. They had everything except cilantro. Cilantro. I really need it for dinner tonight and now I have to make a whole trip to another store with two little girls for one ingredient. This time I'm holding a grudge. So irritating!
Anyways, now that's off my chest and we can move on to baked pasta. This is really glorified mac & cheese with some protein and green vegetable thrown in for good measure. I was dreaming up ways to use the vegetable I had on hand and the extra baked chicken breasts from the night before, and this was the result.
I made it in less than a half hour last night. If you have longer, you could bake it at 400 for an extra 15-20 minutes (before turning on the broiler to really melt the cheese on top) and I bet it would be even better. It would be more nutritious if you used whole grain / whole wheat pasta. The kid loved it.
Baked Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli (serves 4)
1/2 - 3/4 pound pasta (medium size - I used rotini but I bet shells or macaroni would be good)
1 chicken breast, cooked, cut into small pieces
1 cup broccoli cut into small florets
1 T butter
2 T flour
2 c. milk
2 c. grated cheese (I used Gruyere, cheddar would work fine)
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Boil the pasta according to your package directions. Throw the broccoli in for the last 2 minutes and drain everything together. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and stir for about a minute. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's slightly thickened (about 4-5 minutes). Add 1 1/2 c. of the cheese and stir until melted then add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Toss the cheese sauce with the pasta/broccoli mixture, and the chicken. Pour into a greased baking dish (I used 8 inch square but any 1 1/2 or 2 qt dish will work). Sprinkle the rest of the cheese (grated cheese and the parmesan) on top and put it under the broiler in your oven until melty and golden - about 3-4 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn!
Instead of broiling, you could also pop it into a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.