Aly’s Mac & Cheese

A few years back, I attended a co-worker’s baby shower.
All the guests brought a potluck item (I brought Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes, but that’s another post).  My co-worker, Aly brought what she called “Adult Mac and Cheese”. Not because it was rated NC-17, but because it was so richly flavored and deliciously composed that it blew any orangey kid’s mac and cheese out of the water.

Call it Adult, call it Delicious; just call it dinner. Tonight.

Aly’s Adult Mac and Cheese
I’ve adjusted some of the ingredients and methodology;
but the flavor is spot-on and deliciously…adult.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
½ pound short, bite-size pasta such as penne, rotini or elbows
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 container baby portabella mushrooms (or 2 large portobello mushrooms), sliced
1 bag baby spinach
3½ cups cooked shredded chicken (buy pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and shred meat)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tablespoon thyme
4 tbs flour
4 cups milk
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
1.5 cups shredded Italian Blend Cheese (original recipe called for 1.5c Fontina and .5c Parmesan)
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tbs butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir, and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander.
3. In a skillet, melt 2 tbs butter in a skillet. Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until translucent. Add a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Add mushrooms, cook until all the liquid has cooked off.

Add spinach until wilted. Add chopped chicken.

Toss until chicken is warmed though.

Add marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Remove from heat.

3. Melt remaining 2 tbs butter in a deep skillet (or stockpot) over medium heat. Add flour, whisk together to form a roux.

4. Slowly add milk, whisking until all the lumps are whisked in and the sauce has thickened. Slowly add cheese a little bit at a time, to blend into the sauce.

(The sauce should be thick and cheesy – yum)

5. Stir the chicken mixture into the cheese sauce.

6. Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce as well.

7. Stir thoroughly to combine.

8. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish, scraping all the sauce out of the pot with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with toppings and drizzle melted butter over the top.

9. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the pasta is slightly brown on top. If top begins to brown too much, cover with aluminum foil.

10. Let the pasta rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm. Serves 6-8.

Then again…..

…maybe it is a little NC-17.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    Now you know how much I love the KM&C…but I suppose I could be swayed to try this “adult” kind since it does have those fun twisty noodles in it.

    However, I was definitely disappointed by your post since when I read “Adult” Mac & Cheese, I thought this post would involve a gratuitous nude scene or at least a few swears.

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