Melissa is a certified food scientist with over 20 years in the food industry. New food development and matching are her specialities.
You Can Learn to Cook!
There are a couple of classic cooking techniques you can learn from this recipe. First, I use chicken thighs as compared to breasts because the thighs have a higher fat content and will not dry out if you allow the outside to brown to a crispy texture. Constant stirring when cooking meat isn't necessary. Allow fattier meats to brown to a crisp on each side before turning.
The sauce is a basic béchamel with cheese, which means we use butter to cook the flour to thicken a milk-based sauce. The cheese thickens and adds a signature flavor. I use a mixture of half-and-half and milk because lower-fat options tend to curdle or separate rather than form a creamy sauce.
- 1 pound chicken thighs, cut into 1 to 2-inch squares
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces al dente pasta, your choice, linguine shown
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 16 ounces half and half
- 1/2 to 1 cup milk, whole used
- 8 ounces shredded italian cheese, used: mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, asiago, fontina, romano
- Garnish fresh chopped parsley
- Cut the chicken thighs. I like using kitchen shears. Coat with the spices listed. Melt butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning quickly at first to coat with oil, then slowly to allow a great deal of browning and crisping. Let the chicken sit on the heat to develop greater browning (see photo). When the chicken is brown and crispy add the garlic and toss for an additional 20 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the grease.
- In a small saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk to cook the flour, approximately one minute. Slowly add the half and half, whisking rapidly to break up lumps. Add the milk and stir. Slowly add 2/3 of the cheese, stirring to melt and prevent burning or lumps. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste.
- Assemble your plate by placing the pasta first. Drown the pasta in a liberal amount of sauce. This is not a low-calorie recipe. Top with the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and parsley for garnish.
Cooking the Chicken
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© 2017 Melissa Holton