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Grilled Chicken & Bacon & Mac ‘n Cheese

Grilled Chicken & Bacon & Mac ‘n Cheese

Grilled Chicken & Bacon & Mac 'n Cheese

by Niki W.
Course Main Dish
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices good-quality smoky bacon (such as applewood-smoked)
  • salt and pepper on each layer
  • 1 lb whole wheat short-cut pasta
  • 2 pieces skinless, boneless chicken breast, lightly pounded
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or chicken stock
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley or celery greens, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Arrange the bacon on a slotted broiler pan or on a rack placed over a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 15 minutes. Chop and reserve.
  • Switch on the broiler and position the rack in the center of the oven.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook 1 minute less than the instructions indicate, or until just shy of al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
  • While the pasta is boiling, heat a grill pan or cast-iron griddle over medium-high heat. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil to coat lightly, then season evenly with paprika, salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
  • Transfer to a cutting board and half the pieces lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
  • While the chicken cooks, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until light golden and very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the cider (or stock), then the milk. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the thyme and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the cheeses until melted. Add the chicken, bacon and sauce to the pasta and transfer to a casserole. Broil until bubbling and browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with the parsley (or celery greens).
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