Grilled Chicken and Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese from Rachael Ray
- Ready In:
- 6 slices bacon, good-quality smoky, such as applewood-smoked
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb pasta, whole wheat short-cut
- 1⁄2 lb chicken breast, skinless, boneless lightly pounded
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise and very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1⁄2 cup chicken stock or 1/2 cup cloudy apple cider
- 2 cups milk, whole
- 2 tablespoons thyme, fresh, chopped
- nutmeg, to taste, freshly grated
- 1 1⁄2 cups white cheddar cheese, extra-sharp, shredded
- 1 cup gruyere, shredded
- 1 teaspoon parsley, Flat leaf or 1 teaspoon celery leaves, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375°. 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 saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until light golden and very soft, 15 to 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 to 4 minutes. Add the thyme and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. 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. Garnish with the parsley (or celery greens).
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