Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese is a creamy, cheesy one pan meal that's ready in just 30 minutes.
This cheesy dish is filled with macaroni, chicken, and classic Italian flavors like garlic, parmesan cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Are you looking for a cheesy, flavorful comfort meal? Look no further.
You'll love this recipe for Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese because it's filled with Italian flavor, comes together in a single pan, and makes the perfect comfort food meal.
I've paired this classic side dish with some of my favorite Italian flavors and come up with an amazingly easy to make and quick one pan meal. Easy to serve on its own or with a batch of garlic bread.
Ingredients and substitutions
Cubed chicken can be substituted with cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken instead. Simply skip the step of cooking your chicken and continue with the recipe as written.
Parmesan and mozzarella are best when freshly shredded. Pre-shredded cheeses are often coated in an anti-clumping powder which when melted, causes your sauce to get grainy. Instead, shred your own for a creamy sauce.
Chicken broth can be substituted with vegetable broth.
Spinach can be substituted with any tender leafy greens like arugula or baby kale.
Macaroni can be substituted with any medium sized dried pasta, like shells or farfalle. Check your pasta's cooking directions and adjust the recipe times as needed.
Thickening your sauce
Because your pasta is cooked in the same pan as your sauce, the starch from the cooking pasta helps to naturally thicken your sauce.
The starches, combined with a small amount of all-purpose flour, will help to thicken your sauce as the meal cooks.
If your cheese sauce looks too thin, remove your finished pan from the heat and allow to set for 5 minutes, uncovered. The pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it sets.
What to serve with mac and cheese
While this one pan meal is complete on its own, it can also be paired with a small side dish and stretched to feed a bigger crowd!
- Freezer garlic bread
- Garlic bread cheese balls
- Winter chopped salad
- Oven roasted brussels sprouts
- Roasted zucchini and squash
- Grilled broccolini
Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 6 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional, as a garnish)
- Season cubed chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add cubed chicken and saute on all sides until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan.
- Add diced onions and sun-dried tomatoes to pan. Cook for 3 minutes, then add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add flour, stirring to coat. Cook another 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth, milk, macaroni, and Italian seasoning to pan, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook according to macaroni package directions for al dente pasta (should be about 9 minutes).
- Remove lid and add parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, heavy cream, as well as the cooked chicken back to the pan. Stir until cheese is melted.
- Add spinach, stirring to incorporate, about one minute. Remove pan from heat and allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.
- Italian seasoning can be found in the spice aisle of your local grocery store, or you can make your own with my recipe here: https://thetoastykitchen.com/italian-seasoning/
- Other pastas can be used instead of macaroni - try penne, bow tie, or cavatappi.