Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

11 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2008

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.

Ingredients 6 servings

for serving adjustment
Serving size has been adjusted!
Original recipe yields 6 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • 2 cups ½-inch cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ 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


  • Active

  • Ready In

  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).
  • 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 information

  • Serving size: about 1⅓ cups
  • Per serving: 428 calories; 13 g fat(5 g sat); 5 g fiber; 41 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein; 51 mcg folate; 74 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 467 IU vitamin A; 23 mg vitamin C; 373 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 547 mg sodium; 665 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (38% daily value), Calcium (37% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, ½ low-fat milk, 3 lean meat

Reviews 11

June 09, 2014
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Instructions are inaccurate. Presentation was beautiful, however if I was a novice in the kitchen this casserole would have been a disaster. The recipe is easy to follow. The instructions are simple and well written, but the ratio of cheese to liquid is way off so are the times for reduction. In the end I found it simpler and more effective to add another cup and a quarter of cheese. If you don't want to add more cheese, set aside 1 cup of milk and make your cheese sauce out 2 cups milk and 3 TBS flour or 1 and 1/2 TBS cornstarch. I added a dash of Nutmeg otherwise the sauce tastes a bit flat. Instead of white wine I used chicken broth. I don't usually have alcohol on hand. I also added some garlic to give it just a little more flavor. The recipe is good for someone who doesn't mind playing a round of Kitchen detective, Though I strongly recommend that those looking for a quick meal or people just learning how to cook find a different recipe. Pros: Loved the idea, the cauliflower, penne and green onion were beautiful Cons: The sauce recipe had to be majorly tweeked!
December 14, 2013
profile image
By: EatingWell User
loved it added 2 cups legumes with pasta spinach celery garlic kale green pepper 1 tbs mustard garlic
November 02, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
BORING at best I found this to be VERY bland (whihc I assume could be helped a bit by adding addtl. spices but in addition - it was definitely not a smooth sauce but tasted grainy which I find to be common when low/no fat milk is used in cheese sauces. All in all - I could not recommend this - even for people who may feel desperate for a lower fat/calorie creamy pasta.
October 15, 2012
profile image
By: v-wojcik
Easy and delicious This dish was delicious. I was just going to reheat some leftover chicken breasts with veggies, but I found this, and boy, am I glad! The sauce texture was delightful, not entirely smooth and creamy, but hardy. The flavour was bold (especially if you add enough fresh-ground pepper). Nothing boring about this dish (it could use more colour though for my liking). I made a few substitutions based on available ingredients - broccoli for cauliflower, light mozzarella and marble cheeses in place of the Gruyere with the addition of some Parmesan, and salt-free beef broth in place of the wine. I also added zucchini for more vegetables. I could not be more pleased with the result. To those who said the sauce didn't thicken up, cook it for longer over higher heat (make sure to keep stirring so it doesn't burn). The 1-minute suggestion to thicken the sauce is not even enough to bring the sauce to a boil. Make sure you bring it to a boil!!! and reduce heat when you reach the desired consistency. I cooked mine a bit too long and added more beef broth to thin it out - still fantastic. I will definitely make this again and again and recommend it to anyone looking to give leftover chicken a bit of pizazz.
June 05, 2012
profile image
By: elysiaari
Wonderful Dish This recipe is amazing! I changed it a bit and used rice instead of pasta because I'm not a pasta person but yeah it was great! I definitely recommend it for its deliciousness and easiness. Pros: Delicious! Cons: Bit Longer Than Expected
April 05, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Everyone that was saying it was too runny put a little more flour! It wasn't bad at all. It didn't take too long to make either. We just used chicken on the bone and cut it off the bone. A lot cheaper than buying expensive boneless chicken breasts. Pros: Easy to make Cons: needs a bit more flavor
February 18, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Overall this dish was great! Instead of the cauliflower I added broccolli as well as 3 cloves of garlic (I cooked the garlic with the onions). Instead of using dry white wine, I substituted it for unsalted chicken stock. I also used a little less milk so that my sauce would not be runny. These minor changed made for a great meal!! Pros: Took a bit to prep everything Cons: I added some other stuff to bring up the flavor profile
February 07, 2010
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Somehow this 35 minute dish turned into an hour. Basic recipe, nothing to spectacular about this, lacked in any bold flavor. Although adding some hot sauce was a good remedy, you can pretty much do any add ons to this. Good, but not great.
January 07, 2010
profile image
By: EatingWell User
I love all of these ingredients, but this was really not a very good recipe. Three cups was far too much milk to make the sauce very thick (and I knew it, as I was pouring it in, yet I didn't stop!), so my sauce was runny and it basically ruined the whole dish. I think next time I'll save the (EXPENSIVE) Gruy+¿re for my Swiss Fondue!!!
More Reviews