This tuscan chicken mac and cheese is perfect for family dinners, it is quick and easy and doesn’t require much to make!
The ultimate Italian comfort food is Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese. It’s a creamy pasta dish with macaroni, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, spinach, three types of cheese, and traditional Italian seasonings. This delicious one-pan meal takes just over 30 minutes to prepare.
Whether it’s for family dinner or a Saturday night dinner, this tuscan chicken mac and cheese recipe is your winning card, it’s creamy, rich, and packed with flavors! and on top of that it won’t cost you a fortune to make. So let’s dive in and start cooking!
Why it’s called Tuscan ?
Tuscany is a beautiful place in central Italy. It’s capital is the famous Florence home of the most recognizable arts and architectures. Tuscany is possibly the greatest library of art in the world, from paintings, sculptures, and much more artworks. Gourmets often visit Tuscany to enjoy the simple yet wonderful cuisine, and by cuisine i mean a lot of super delicious dishes like Crostini Toscani, Panzanella, Ribollita soup, Pappa al pomodoro soup and much more!
Origin of Mac and Cheese
The original story of mac and cheese is that a person named Thomas Jefferson came back to virginia after his stay in Italy. And he brought back with him a pasta machine, later on his daughter Mary Randolph became the hostess of his house after the death of his wife, and she is credited with the invention of the dish using parmesan cheese and macaroni. After that the parmesan cheese was replaced with the Cheddar cheese. To sum up, Thomas Jefferson found the recipe in Italy and brought it back to Virginia.
One Pot Pasta
Despite the fact that this Tuscan Chicken Mac And Cheese is made in a single pot, the pasta is perfectly coated in a silky smooth sauce that is loaded with as much cheese as you like! I thought about boiling the pasta first, then removing it and starting on the sauce. But I also know how much my readers enjoy quick and simple recipes that can be made in one pot or on a sheet pan.
The Best Cheeses for Mac and Cheese
For this tuscan chicken mac and cheese i only sticked with the cheddar cheese but there are plenty of cheeses to choose from, and these are the best cheeses to use:
- Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano) Italian hard, granular cheese that is produced from cow’s milk and has aged 12-36 months.
- Cheddar cheese (relatively hard, off-white, sometimes sharp-tasting, natural cheese. Originating in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset )
- Gruyere cheese (hard yellow Swiss cheese that originated in the cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Berne in Switzerland.)
- Smoked gouda cheese (mild, yellow cheese, originating from the Netherlands, made from cow’s milk. It is one of the most popular cheeses worldwide.)
Sun Dried Tomato
sun dried tomato are ripe tomatoes that lost most of water content after spending a majority of their drying time in the sun. These tomatoes are usually pre-treated with sulfur dioxide or salt before being placed in the sun in order to improve quality.
And there is also Oven ”Sun dried tomato” where you’ll need just fresh tomatoes, sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil that you’ll roast them for 4 hours at 250F and store them in glass jars.
How to Make Tuscan Mac and Cheese
Do you have a pan, a pasta pot, and a hungry stomach? Excellent! You’re all set to make this simple mac and cheese.
Tuscan chicken mac and cheese is a twist on Tuscan chicken, an Italian-American restaurant dish that consists of chicken simmered in a rich sauce made of heavy cream, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach.
That spirit is channeled into this stovetop mac and cheese. It’s actually better than the original! There should be noodles where there is cheesy sauce.
This doesn’t get any easier, it’s so simple:
- first of all season chicken with salt pepper and sear both sides of the chicken breasts in a pan on medium high heat
- Secondly cook the chicken in the oven for an even cooking from inside-out
- Meanwhile cook your pasta in boiling salted water
- After that fry both the onion and the garlic cloves until golden
- Add the sun dried tomatoes, the flour, and the ( milk/heavy cream ) mixture
- season with your italian seasoning! and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- Finally add the Maccheroni, and stir to combine, then grate some cheddar cheese.
This tuscan mac and cheese is unbelievable when served hot straight from the pan and i love it with some finely chopped fresh parsley on top!
What to Serve with Tuscan Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Salad is a salad. A light and simple salad, will complement the Tuscan flavors in this dish.
Fruits and vegetables Serve this mac and cheese with a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Zucchini to add more vegetables to your meal.
The bread. Always a good option, particularly for Italian-inspired dishes like this one.
Make-Ahead and Storage Suggestions
To prepare ahead of time. Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate it up to 1 day ahead of time. You can also grate your cheeses up to a day ahead of time and store them in a separate jar in the fridge.
To keep. Refrigerate leftover macaroni and cheese in an airtight jar for up to 4 days.
To heat up again. Gently reheat leftovers in a large skillet over medium-low heat, adding splashes of milk (or water) as required to thin the sauce. This dish can also be reheated in the microwave.
To Freeze. Mac and cheese can be frozen in an airtight freezer-safe jar for up to 3 months.
Methods for Changing It Up
If you want to add a little more flavor, mix up the cheese blend. Substitute Monterey Jack cheese for the Mozzarella.
Change the Pasta: While elbow macaroni is my preferred pasta for this dish. Rigatoni, shells, penne, ziti, and farfalle are all good choices. The cooking time for the noodles may need to be adjusted. Simply obey the package instructions to cook the pasta until it is al dente.
Use a Variety of Chicken: Chicken thighs are delicious in this. When I have leftover shredded chicken, I will also use it.
Alter the Protein: This recipe is delicious with mild Italian sausage or turkey sausage.
More Delicious Recipes Here:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 350g of Maccheroni Rigati
- Fresh parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 Fresh tomato pealed and cut into quarters
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 2 tbsps butter
- 2 tbsps flour
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
- First of all season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and the paprika, at the same time put in small pan ( i used a cast iron old pan ) olive oil and butter and sear the sides of the chicken breasts 4 minutes on each side.
- After that take the pan out of the heat and put it in the oven for 15 minutes on 200C°.
- In a large sauce pan boil water with salt, and cook your maccheroni according to the package instructions ( Al Dente ) not too firm and not too tender in the middle.
- Now heat a medium sauce pan, drizzle with olive oil, and fry the minced garlic and the diced onion until golden.
- Add the tomato, and the spices ( salt, black pepper, smoked paprika) and cook for about 4 minutes with stirring time to time.
- Add the flour and let it cook for an additional minute then add your heavy creamy along with the milk. At this moment you can lower the heat and let it cook and low temperature.
- Add your cooked Maccheroni and stir.Add in the chopped parsley and mix everything.
- Grate some good cheddar cheese on top and mix it the pasta.
- Take your chicken breasts our of the oven, and let it rest for a couple of minutes.using a sharp knife cut the chicken breasts like you desire and add them on top of the maccheroni.Sprinkle with any remaining fresh chopped parsley and serve!
Amount Per Serving Calories 572Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 73mgSodium 923mgFiber 4gSugar 7gProtein 36g