- large skinless boneless chicken breasts 2
- salt and pepper to taste • 1 kcal
- Paprika 1/2 tsp
- Dried parsley 1/2 tsp
- Extra virgin olive oil, divided 1 tbsp
- Butter 2 tbsp • 717 kcal
- onion, chopped 1
- garlic, finely diced 6 cloves
- White wine 1/3 cup
- jarred sun-dried tomato strips in oil 9 oz (reserve 2 tbsp of oil and drain the rest)
- Flour 3 tbsp
- Chicken broth 2 cups
- milk, divided 3 cups
- dried Italian herbs 2 tsp
- Elbow macaroni uncooked 10 ounces
- baby spinach leaves 3 cups
- Parmesan cheese, grated 1 cup
- mozzarella cheese, shredded 3/4 cup
- cheddar, grated 1/2 cup
- fresh parsley, chopped 2 tbsp
You'll love this super easy hearty Tuscan chicken mac ‘n cheese. It's a fast, delicious one-pot meal that's perfect for busy weeknights – you can make it under half an hour. Tuscan chicken mac ‘n cheese is a protein-packed dish with savory cheesy, spinach, juicy chicken, and boasts a silky, creamy texture.
Despite its name, Tuscan chicken mac and cheese isn't Italian, it's an Olive Garden copycat recipe. It's a delicious dish that's easy to customize depending on your family's tastes. With so much flavor and so little effort involved, Tuscan mac and cheese is sure to become a favorite in your home.
Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese Ingredients
The key to making the best-tasting Tuscan chicken mac and cheese is in the seasoning. Adding herbs and spices like paprika, parsley, garlic, and Italian herbs will beautifully flavor the chicken. White wine will give it some mouthwatering acidity to balance out all that rich cheese and milk (or cream if you want a heartier dish).
You'll also need some chicken broth to help make the sauce, while a few spoonfuls of flour will thicken it up, giving your mac and cheese that perfect silky texture. Sun-dried tomatoes and spinach will give your dish a Tuscan flair, so make sure to add them in!
How to Make Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
You'll love how easy it is to make this simple, hearty one-pot meal. Ready to get started? Here's how to make Tuscan chicken mac and cheese. Start by seasoning the chicken with salt, paprika, pepper, dried parsley, and oil. Saute the chicken in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until cooked golden brown and through. Take the chicken out of the pot, place it on a plate, and cover with foil. Set it to the side.
Melt a little butter in the same pot and saute the onions and garlic until the onions become translucent. Stir in the white wine and simmer until it starts to burn off. Don't forget to scrape the bottom of the pan. Those brown bits will give your mac and cheese loads of flavor. Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, then add the flour. Stir in the broth, milk, herbs, salt, and pepper and simmer over low heat. Add the pasta and cook it to al dente then stir in the spinach. Take the pot off the heat and mix in the cheese. Chop the chicken and stir it into the pasta and serve.
Expert Tips for Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
You can make this delicious dish up to 2 days in advance.
Use whole milk to make your mac and cheese.
For a richer mac ‘n cheese, use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk.
After adding the broth to the mixture, you can add in the pasta, spinach, and cheese, and transfer everything to a casserole dish to make a Tuscan chicken mac and cheese casserole. Bake it for 15 to 20 minutes at 350F.
To make Instant Pot Tuscan chicken mac and cheese, follow the instructions outlined below using your Instant Pot rather than a Dutch oven. After stirring in the broth, add in the pasta and chicken breasts. Close and seal the lid and cook for 5 minutes on high, followed by a quick release. Remove the chicken and place it under the foil, then stir the cheese and spinach into the pot. Cut the chicken and stir it into the sauce and serve.
Make this dish more nutritious by adding extra veggies to it. Try broccoli, peas, mushrooms, or zucchini. You can also use low-fat milk and reduce the amount of cheese to lower the overall calorie count to make it a healthier dish. You may also want to use whole grain pasta instead of regular pasta.
Try other tasty variations like buffalo chicken mac and cheese, Cajun, lemon, or garlic. You can also season the chicken with taco seasoning or your other favorite herb and spice mixes to create your own unique dish!
What to Serve with Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
Serve your Tuscan chicken mac and cheese with a side of garlic bread, a light green salad, or some steamed or roasted vegetables.
How to Store Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
Put any leftovers into an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. For long-term storage, freeze your chicken mac ‘n cheese for up to 1 month.
Season the chicken with salt, paprika, pepper, dried parsley, and toss it with 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat the rest of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Saute the chicken until cooked through.
Remove and place on a plate. Cover with foil and set to the side.
Melt butter in the Dutch oven. Saute the garlic and onions for 2 minutes, or until onions become translucent.
Stir in the white wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, plus 2 tablespoons of oil from the jar. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Mix in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
Pour in the broth.
Pour in 2 ½ cups of milk, herbs, salt, and pepper, and reduce to a low simmer.
Mix in pasta and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook to al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the spinach.
Remove from heat and all in the parmesan, mozzarella, and cheddar. If necessary, add more milk to thin out the sauce.
Cut the chicken and add it to the pasta. Garnish with parsley and serve.