Cheesy Chicken Pasta

3.8 (90)
Cheesy Chicken Pasta

This ooey-gooey pasta dish is a crowd-pleaser for adults and kids alike—think rich and creamy macaroni-and-cheese tossed with cauliflower and chicken. Serve with a spinach salad.

Yield: 6 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each
Active Time: 35
Total Time: 35


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère, or Swiss cheese
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken, or turkey (12 ounces; see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, or scallion greens


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and cook until the pasta and florets are tender, about 4 minutes more. Drain, rinse and return to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Whisk milk, flour, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl and add to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until smooth. Stir chicken (or turkey) and mustard into the cheese sauce; cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir the sauce into the drained pasta and cauliflower. Serve sprinkled with chives (or scallion greens).

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: To poach chicken breasts, place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes.


Nutrition Per Serving

calories 433
fat 13 g (5 g sat, 5 g mono)
cholesterol 75 mg
carbohydrates 42 g
protein 34 g
fiber 5 g
sodium 491 mg
potassium 483 mg

Nutrition Bonus Vitamin C (38% daily value), Calcium (35% dv), Potassium (20% dv).

Carbohydrate Serving 2 1/2

Exchanges 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 low-fat milk, 3 lean meat

From EatingWell November/December 2008