The BEST Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese (30Min) – 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!
The BEST Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese (30Min)
Do I need to say more about the roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and pasta drenched in a decadent cheese sauce? If you want to try something new, try my recipe for Tuscan mac and cheese.
The addition of Italian seasoning and a variety of cheeses elevates this creamy mac and cheese to a complex, delicious main course that your family will love.
Tuscan chicken mac n cheese, made in a single pot, has a fancy appearance despite being extremely simple and quick to prepare. This mac and cheese dinner idea is suitable for a casual weeknight dinner or a Saturday feast with friends.
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.
- Chicken Breasts: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are approximately the same size. In order for them to cook evenly.
- Extra virgin olive oil should not be used. During the cooking process, it will burn.
- Salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, and dried parsley are the perfect herbs and spices to bring out the Tuscan flavors in this dish.
- Butter: Adds richness to the dish by sautéing the onions.
- Yellow onion: A delicious flavor addition that complements the other flavors.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes: Use oil-dried sun-dried tomatoes. You can add 1-2 tablespoons of oil for extra flavor.
- All-purpose flour is used to make the roux, which is used to thicken the sauce.
- While cooking, chicken broth adds a lot of flavor. Vegetable broth can be used instead.
- Half & Half: This is what gives the sauce its creamy, delicious texture. If you want a lighter meal, replace the water with milk.
- You can also make your own Italian seasoning. 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or marjoram
- Elbow Macaroni: This is the traditional noodle for mac and cheese. However, you can use a medium-sided tube-shaped pasta.
- Baby spinach can be substituted for other leafy greens such as baby kale or arugula.
- Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Cheddar Cheese: These are the ingredients that make this mac and cheese so delicious. I recommend only using freshly grated cheese. Cheese that has already been shredded does not melt as well as fresh grated cheese.
- Fresh Italian parsley: Used as a garnish to add a pop of color to the dish.
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!
Variations on a Recipe:
To Vegetarianize. Substitute 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed, drained white beans, such as cannellini, for the chicken.
How to Make Gluten-Free. Use gluten-free pasta and a 1:1 all-purpose flour replacement, such as this one.
Alter the Chicken. You can substitute chicken thighs for the chicken breast in this mac and cheese. Or, as in this Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Sausage, use a mild Italian sausage (I like chicken or turkey sausage).
Thickening Your Sauce:
Because the pasta is cooked in the same pan as the sauce, the starch from the pasta naturally thickens the sauce.
As the meal cooks, the starches, combined with a small amount of all-purpose flour, will help to thicken the sauce.
If your cheese sauce appears too thin, remove it from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes, uncovered. As it sets, the pasta will continue to absorb liquid.
Tips And Tricks:
- Make use of high-quality ingredients. The stars of this quick one-pot meal are chicken, cheese, sundried tomatoes, and spinach, and they must be excellent.
- You must shred the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses, as previously stated, are treated with starches that prevent them from melting creamy, resulting in a grainy sauce.
- Use plenty of oil. Don’t throw away the sun-dried tomato oil. It adds richness to the dish and infuses each bite with vibrant flavor. 3 tbsp for frying the chicken, 3 to 4 tbsp for making the roux, and a little more for rubbing the chicken
- Cook for 3 minutes with the roux. It’s easy to overlook this step, but the roux should be cooked for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it’s smooth and golden.
- Avoid overcooking the pasta. The noodles should be al dente, which means firm in the center but still with a bite. As a result, test your pasta 2 to 3 minutes earlier than the box suggests.
- For the best aroma, combine several cheeses. I also suggest adding the cheese in 1/2 cup increments and thoroughly stirring it in before adding more.
- Constantly stir. This dish requires a lot of stirring, from making the roux to cooking the pasta and melting the cheese, to ensure the sauce is creamy and clump-free.
- If desired, thin the sauce. If the cheese sauce becomes too thick after adding the cedar and parmesan, simply thin it out with more milk until the desired consistency is reached.
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.
How to reheat chicken macaroni?
Warm on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and bubbly. For a creamier texture, add a couple of tablespoons of milk or light cream.
Transfer the mac and cheese to an oven-safe baking dish and stir in 1/4 cup milk to reheat in the oven. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes in a 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 oven. Then, uncover, stir, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.
Warm individual portions in 1-minute increments, stirring after each heating, until thoroughly warmed.
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.
Making ahead of time Tuscan chicken mac and cheese
One-pot mac and cheese is an excellent make-ahead and meal prep dish. You can make the chicken and macaroni recipe ahead of time and reheat it on the stovetop or in the oven until hot and bubbly.
If you make this Italian mac and cheese ahead of time, make sure the pasta is barely al dente so the noodles don’t get mushy when reheated.
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 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 73mgSodium 923mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 4gSugar 7gProtein 36g