Twisted Mac and Cheese
Semi-inspired by the Hard Rock Café's dish of the same name.
(To serve 3). 30 mins-ish, including vegetable and chicken prep.
- 1 chicken breast (~250g),
- ~250ml milk,
- ~25g unsalted butter,
- ~2 tbsp. plain flour,
- 300g pasta,
- Ample cheese, grated (mainly base cheese like Cheddar, with some flavour cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino),
- 1 bell pepper (of your choosing),
- Sea salt, black pepper,
- Olive oil,
- Chilli/red pepper flakes,
- Cayenne pepper.
- Salt chicken breast 24 hours before, refrigerate and cover.
- Thinly slice chicken breast. Season with black pepper.
- Dice (1cm) pepper.
- Add olive oil to pan, heat till shimmering.
- Add chicken, fry and turn until all pieces change colour.
- Add diced pepper, toss, and add a generous portion of paprika, chilli flakes and cayenne pepper.
- Generously salt a potful of water, bring to the boil.
- Add pasta, simmer till al dente. Drain, saving some of the pasta water for later.
- Heat milk in saucepan (not to boiling or burning).
- Roux – melt butter in separate saucepan, add flour and and stir continuously for a few minutes.
- When roux sufficiently done, add and mix in milk by small doses. Stir over medium-high heat until thickened.
- Add some reserved pasta water, add cheese. Stir. This should greatly thicken the sauce. If in doubt, grate more.
- Add chicken and diced pepper from frying pan, fold into sauce.
- Taste, season with sea salt and black pepper as needed.
- Add pasta, fold into sauce. Serve.
4/5, easy and quick to make. Tastes close enough to my memory of the dish for something I came up with on a whim, which is a bonus.