Macaroni and goat cheese with chicken and rosemary

My chicken and macaroni doesn't look as nice as the photo in the newspaper, but it was delicious.

My chicken and macaroni doesn’t look as nice as the photo in the newspaper, but it was delicious.

I got behind in blogging last month. But I wanted to go back and add this recipe from Milwaukee’s Coquette Cafe. Macaroni and cheese in any form is delicious, and this version with chicken and goat cheese makes a great winter comfort food.

I got the restaurant’s recipe when it was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but then when I went online to look for it, I didn’t see it. Luckily, I had saved the paper copy.

As usual, I varied a few things. First, the restaurant roasts its own chicken, and you certainly could too. I bought a rotisserie chicken to save time. Second, the original recipe calls for heavy cream, not half-and-half. But I figured I didn’t need the additional fat and calories.

Unless you invite a crowd over for dinner, you will certainly have leftovers. Don’t worry. The dish reheats well and makes a great lunch.

Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken, Goat Cheese and Rosemary Oil

2 ounces fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1 rotisserie chicken, with meat pulled off and chopped
3 cups homemade chicken stock (I used turkey because I had that in the freezer)
1 pound macaroni
2 cups half-and-half
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Make rosemary oil by blending the rosemary leaves and olive oil in a blender. Strain and discard solids.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add macaroni. Cook the macaroni until al dente, which is probably about 8 to 10 minutes. Strain it and rinse with cold water.

Put 2 cups of the chicken (or turkey) stock into a saucepan and begin to heat. Add the reserved chicken and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Gradually add the half-and-half to the stock, reducing the heat to medium-high and stirring regularly. Cook about 15 minutes until it has the consistency of a thin cream sauce. Mine was thinner than I expected at this point.

Add the goat cheese and 1/2 cup of rosemary oil and simmer until the goat cheese is incorporated into the sauce.

Add the macaroni and cook until the pasta is heated through and any excess liquid is absorbed. If it gets too thick, you can thin it with the extra stock.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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