This gooey, rich mac ‘n’ cheese is equal parts hearty and comforting with plenty of cheese and protein. When in doubt, go with sharp cheddar—it’s a classic—but if you’re feeling adventurous or using up cheeses from the fridge then we recommend Gouda, Gruyére, or fontina (or even cream cheese!)
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil, for frying
- 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1½ inch pieces
- 2 cups elbow pasta
- 2½ cups broccoli florets, chopped
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 packets Instant Chicken Bone Broth
- 16 ounces sharp cheddar, Gruyère, Gouda, or fontina cheese, shredded
- Pinch cayenne or tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
Boil the pasta and broccoli
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium stock or pasta pot. Boil pasta for 5 minutes then add the broccoli. Boil for 2 minutes or until the pasta is just al dente. Drain pasta and broccoli reserving 1 cup of pasta water and set the pasta and broccoli aside.
Fry the chicken
Heat a large enameled cast iron skillet or sauté pan over high heat and add olive oil. Add chicken pieces and fry until browned and cooked through, about 5–7 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Make the sauce
Reduce heat to medium high and add butter and garlic. Fry until garlic is just golden and fragrant. Add flour and stir to create a roux. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, thinning the roux. Once all the milk is added, add the contents of the broth packets and stir. Add the reserved pasta water ¼ cup at a time while stirring to incorporate. Customize to your liking—use half of the water for a thicker mac ‘n’ cheese, or all of it for a saucier cheese coating. Add the mustard and cayenne, then add the cheese one handful at a time, stirring until it melts into the sauce.
Combine and serve
Once all the cheese is added, add the chicken, pasta, and broccoli to the sauce and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.