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Blackened Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake

We've combined some of our favorite flavors here; Caesar Salad, Blackened Chicken and Good old Mac and Cheese! This dish is an absolute crowd pleaser! You could call it revved up Mac and Cheese but it wouldn't give it enough credit. This combines succulent flavorful blackened chicken breast with rich creamy "Caesar" style cheese sauce and pasta. The pumpernickel bread crumb and chopped arugula topping add great color contrast. YUM! "

Ingredients

9 Tablespoons butter (used separately)
4 - chicken breast halves
2 Tablespoons - blackened seasoning such as Paul Prudhomme's
6 Tablespoons - flour
Dash - cayenne pepper
to taste - salt and pepper
3 3/4 cups - hot whole milk
1 teaspoon - lemon zest
1 Tablespoon - finely minced garlic
9 - finely chopped anchovies
1 1/2 cups - finely chopped Arugula (used separately)
3 cups - White Extra Sharp Cheddar
2 cups - Shredded Fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 pound - mini Penne noodles
1 cup - fresh Pumpernickel Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup - heavy cream


Instructions

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 9X13 glass baking dish with 1 tablespoons butter.
Heat Grill pan till hot then reduce heat to medium. Season chicken breast on both sides with “blackened” seasoning. Cook until done on a cast iron grill pan turning once. Set aside to cool. When cool, cut chicken into medium or bite sized chunks.
Melt 6 Tablespoons butter in large heavy stainless steel saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Stir and cook for approximately 4 minutes until after flour foams and has cooked. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat milk in medium sized sauce pan. Add – lemon zest, anchovies, garlic and 1 cup arugula. Stir to combine. Whisk hot milk into hot flour mixture over med-low heat ½ cup at a time and cook while stirring until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 2 cups of Sharp Cheddar and 1 cup of Parmesan. Stir until cheese melts and remove from heat.
Prepare pasta as directed. Combine cooked pasta and sauce in large bowl and season as needed with salt.
Combine remaining 1 cup Sharp Cheddar and 1 cup Parmesan. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of cheese mixture on bottom of prepared dish.
Place half of pasta/cheese mixture in the dish. Top with all of chopped chicken. Top with ¾ cup of cheese mixture. Place remaining pasta over chicken. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Pour heavy cream over top of the entire dish.
Combine pumpernickel bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter and ½ cup remaining chopped arugula. Sprinkle over entire dish.
Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly golden.
Let sit for at least 15 minutes to set before serving

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Servings

6-8

Nutritional Information
Per Serving

no nutrition information available