I really think I could eat pasta every day. This recipe for a delicious version came about because I needed to use up some ingredients I had on hand, the way some of my best recipes have been developed! Assembling all of the ingredients before starting to cook will make the process a snap. I love that once it is all assembled it just gets broiled, not baked, a real time saver. This pasta recipe is a keeper, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
4 ounces grated Fontina (use whatever cheese you have on hand, as long as it melts well)
2 ounces finely grated Parmesan, or other hard cheese
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces cubed, uncooked chicken breast
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces sliced mushrooms, cremini or white button work
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried mustard
3 cups low-fat milk
1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
8 ounces penne pasta, cooked and drained according to package directions
4 cups small broccoli florets, cooked with the pasta during the last minute of the pasta's cooking time
Combine the cheeses and set aside. Combine the flour and dry mustard and set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a high-sided 12-inch skillet that is broiler-proof. Salt the chicken liberally, then add to the skillet. Sear quickly on all sides, then remove to a plate and keep warm.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the butter and melt. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and comes to a simmer, cook until the liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the flour and dry mustard, stir to coat well, and cook for about a minute. Slowly stream in the milk while whisking. Whisk in the thyme, salt, and red pepper. Continue whisking until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese mixture until smooth. Then stir in the chicken, pasta and broccoli.
Preheat the broiler. (The surface of the food should be 4-6 inches from the heat source.)
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the pasta. Place the skillet on the broiler rack and broil until lightly browned and bubbling, about 5 minutes. (Protect any wooden or plastic handles on the skillet by sticking it out from under the broiler!)
Cool 5-10 minutes before serving.