Fancy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Rotisserie Chicken

 

If you like mac and cheese… what am I saying? Who doesn’t??? You’ll love this new version I came up with. The flavor combination is just perfect, it is so delicious. It may sound and taste a little fancy, but super easy to make! This dish contains 2 ½ cups of real cheese. It got two thumbs up from my husband.


Serving size: 6

Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups rotisserie chicken (cut into small cubes)

1 ½ cup penne pasta

2 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

8 oz pack brown crimini mushrooms (cut in half then sliced)

¼ cup onion (diced)

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (finely diced)

3 tablespoons pesto 

3 bay leaves

1 garlic clove (freshly minced)

½ cup heavy whipping cream

1 ½ cup chicken broth, bouillon, or stock

½ teaspoon seasoning salt

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 pinch ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

4 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)

1 cup panko crumbs


How to make Fancy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Rotisserie Chicken:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

Fill a medium size pot with water and place it on high heat. Bring the water to boil and throw in the pasta. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and cook the pasta until it’s still a little undercooked. Drain it and set aside. 


2. Cut the chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, onions and mushrooms and set aside. (See ingredient list for details on how to cut them) Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and place it on high heat then add mushrooms and onions. Saute them for a couple of minutes and add ½ teaspoon of seasoning salt, then all the coriander, garlic, bay leaves and ground black pepper.


3. Add sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto, saute for a couple of minutes then add chicken. Let that simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes and set aside.


Next step is making the cheese sauce. ( BEST PART!)

4. Use a large skillet to heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, then add 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour. Turn the heat down to about medium/low and mix the flour and the oil well. Let it simmer for a few seconds then add the heavy whipping cream. Grab a whisk and start whisking non stop. The mixture will thicken and become a paste. Add the chicken broth slowly while whisking until the mixture is smooth.(You can adjust the heat is it’s not simmering) Add 2 cups of cheese and mix it well until you get a thick and smooth cheese sauce. (I make this sauce and just toss it with cooked pasta for my son, he LOVES it! Definitely beats processed cheese!)


5. Combine your chicken and mushrooms, with your oowey gooey cheesy sauce. Add ¼ teaspoon of seasoning salt then taste it to see if you need to add any more salt or pepper. Add pasta to the rest of the yumminess and mix it well. Empty your cheesy goodness into a large oven safe glass pan and sprinkle ½ cup of cheese on top then cover with panko crumbs. Bake it uncovered for about 25-30 minutes, pull it out of the oven and your mac and cheese is ready to serve.


Impress your friends and family with this beautiful dish (Shhh… they don’t have to know how simple it was to make.) You can find the recipe for Garlic Bread shown below, here as well. It goes great with this dish!


 

Fancy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Rotisserie Chicken
Serves 6
This dish contains 2 ½ cups of real cheese. Rich and flavorful, bright notes from pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, earthiness from the mushrooms, and that yummy cheese sauce just ties it all together so perfectly!
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rotisserie chicken (cut into about 1 inch cubes)
  2. 1 ½ cup penne pasta
  3. 2 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  4. 8 oz pack brown crimini mushrooms (cut in half then sliced)
  5. ¼ cup onion (diced)
  6. ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (finely diced)
  7. 3 tablespoons pesto
  8. 3 bay leaves
  9. 1 garlic clove (freshly minced)
  10. ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  11. 1 ½ cup chicken broth, bouillon, or stock
  12. ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
  13. ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  14. 1 pinch ground black pepper
  15. 1 teaspoon salt
  16. 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  17. 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
  18. 1 cup panko crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Fill a medium size pot with water and place it on high heat. Bring the water to boil and throw in the pasta. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and cook the pasta until it's still a little undercooked. Drain it and set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, onions and mushrooms and set aside. (See ingredient list for details on how to cut them) Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and place it on high heat then add mushrooms and onions. Saute them for a couple of minutes and add ½ teaspoon of seasoning salt, then all the coriander, garlic, bay leaves and ground black pepper.
  3. Add sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto, saute for a couple of minutes then add chicken. Let that simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes and set aside.
  4. Cheese sauce: Use a large skillet to heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, then add 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour. Turn the heat down to about medium/low and mix the flour and the oil well. Let it simmer for a few seconds then add the heavy whipping cream. Grab a whisk and start whisking non stop. The mixture will thicken and become a paste. Add the chicken broth slowly while whisking until the mixture is smooth.(You can adjust the heat is it's not simmering) Add 2 cups of cheese and mix it well until you get a thick and smooth cheese sauce. (I make this sauce and just toss it with cooked pasta for my son, he LOVES it! Definitely beats processed cheese!)
  5. Combine your chicken and mushrooms, with your oowey gooey cheesy sauce. Add ¼ teaspoon of seasoning salt then taste it to see if you need to add any more salt or pepper. Add pasta to the rest of the yumminess and mix it well. Empty your cheesy goodness into a large oven safe glass pan and sprinkle ½ cup of cheese on top then cover with panko crumbs.
  6. Bake it uncovered for about 25-30 minutes, pull it out of the oven and your mac and cheese is ready to serve. Enjoy!
Evelina's Home Cooking http://evelinashomecooking.com/
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