Close up of Tuscan chicken mac and cheese with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.

Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese

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Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese is the ultimate Italian comfort food. It is a creamy pasta dish that is packed full of macaroni, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, spinach, three kinds of cheese, and classic Italian seasonings. This delicious one-pan meal is ready in just over 30 minutes.

Tuscan chicken mac and cheese in a white bowl. Being picked up by a fork to show of the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.

As kids we all loved mac and cheese. Now that we are adults are taste buds have become a little more refined. So I have created the ultimate mac and cheese for adults. It has robust Tuscan flavors combined with the cheesy goodness we all loved. Then topped with the most flavorful chicken to create the perfect meal.

If you are looking for more comfort food meals like this. You need to check out our Instant Pot Goulash or our Best Chicken Spaghetti Casserole. All of these recipes go amazing with these easy to make Garlic Knots.

Chicken Mac and Cheese Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts: Use boneless, skinless chicken breast close to the same size. So that they cook evenly.
  • Olive Oil: Don’t use extra virgin olive oil. It will burn in the cooking process.
  • Salt, Black Pepper, Paprika, Onion Powder, Dried Parsley: These herbs and spices are the perfect blend to bring out the Tuscan flavors in this dish.
  • Butter: Used to saute the onions and adds a richness to the dish
  • Yellow Onion: Another delicious flavor addition and helps bring out the other flavors.
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes: Make sure to use sun-dried tomatoes in oil. For extra flavor you can add in 1-2 tablespoons of the oil.
  • All-purpose flour: Is used to make the roux to thicken the sauce.
  • Chicken Broth: Adds so much flavor to the past while cooking. Can be substituted with vegetable broth.
  • Half & Half: This is what makes the sauce so creamy and delicious. If you are looking for a lighter meal you can substitute with milk.
  • Italian Seasoning: You can also make your own. Combine 1/2 tsp dried basil 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried rosemary or marjoram.
  • Elbow Macaroni: This is the classic noodle used for mac and cheese. But you can use and medium sided tube shaped pasta.
  • Baby Spinach: Can be substituted with you favorite leafy greens like baby kale or arugula.
  • Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Cheddar Cheese: These are what make this mac and cheese so good. I recommend using only freshly grated cheese. The cheese that you buy that is already shredded does not melt as well a fresh grated cheese.
  • Fresh Italian Parsley: Used to garnish the dish to add the perfect pop of color.
All the Ingredients need to make Tuscan chicken mac and cheese.

How to Make Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese

This recipe is a little to much for a standard skillet. I recommend that you use a large skillet. If you do not have a large skillet a large pot will do just fine.

  • Using half of the salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, and dried parsley. Season one side of the chicken and turn over and use the remaining spices to season the rest of the chicken.
  • In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook each side for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from skillet and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/4 strips and recover
  • In the same skillet add butter and melt. Then add onion and garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally or until onions become translucent.
  • Add sliced sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Add all-purpose flour and mix until completely incorporated. Cook for 1 minute. Then, add in chicken broth, half and half, and Italian seasoning. Stir until well incorporated and bring to a low simmer.
  • Add in elbow macaroni stirring occasionally and bring to a simmer. Then, reduce heat to medium-low and cook pasta for 10 minutes or until macaroni is cooked al dente, stirring occasionally.
  • Add spinach and cook until wilted and reduced by about 2/3, Stirring the entire time.
  • Reduce heat to low and add in Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is completely melted and well incorporated.
  • Add in cooked and sliced chicken and stir into the pasta. Continue cooking until chicken has been reheated.
  • Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over the top and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Over head look at Tuscan chicken mac and cheese in a large skillet.

Ways To Change It Up

  • Mix Up The Cheese Blend: If you want to add a bit more flavor. Substitute the Mozzarella cheese for Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Change the Pasta: Al though elbow macaroni is my favorite pasta to use in this dish. Rigatoni, shells, penne, ziti, and farfalle all work well. You may need to adjust to cooking time on the noodles. Just follow the directions on the box to cook to al dente.
  • Use Different Types Of Chicken: Chicken thighs taste amazing in this. Sometimes when I have leftover shredded chicken I will use that as well.
  • Change The Protein: This recipe tastes so good with a mild Italian sausage or turkey sausage.
  • Make It Gluten Free: Substitute the all-purpose flour with cornstarch. Then use your favorite gluten free pasta.
  • Make it Vegetarian: Substitute the chicken with Tofu and follow the same seasoning instructions.
Close up of Tuscan chicken mac and cheese with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.

Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese

Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese is the ultimate Italian comfort food. It is a creamy pasta dish that is packed full of macaroni, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, spinach, three kinds of cheese, and classic Italian seasonings. This delicious one-pan meal is ready in just over 30 minutes.
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Chicken, Main Course, pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 590 kcal

Ingredients
  

Chicken

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp dried parsley

Mac and Cheese

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 8 ounces jarred sun-dried tomatoes (cut into thin strips)
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • cups chicken broth
  • cups half and half
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • ¾ cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
  • ¾ cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley (chopped)

Instructions
 

  • Using half of the salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, and dried parsley. Season one side of the chicken and turn over and use the remaining spices to season the rest of the chicken.
  • In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook each side for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from skillet and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/4 strips and recover
  • In the same skillet add butter and melt. Then add onion and garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally or until onions become translucent.
  • Add sliced sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Add all-purpose flour and mix until completely incorporated. Cook for 1 minute. Then, add in chicken broth, half and half, and Italian seasoning. Stir until well incorporated and bring to a low simmer.
  • Add in elbow macaroni stirring occasionally and bring to a simmer. Then, reduce heat to medium-low and cook pasta for 10 minutes or until macaroni is cooked al dente, stirring occasionally.
  • Add spinach and cook until wilted and reduced by about 2/3, Stirring the entire time.
  • Reduce heat to low and add in Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is completely melted and well incorporated.
  • Add in cooked and sliced chicken and stir into the pasta. Continue cooking until chicken has been reheated.
  • Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over the top and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

*Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on Modernmealmakeover.com should only be used as a general guideline.

Nutrition

Calories: 590kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 33gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 950mgPotassium: 1318mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 2735IUVitamin C: 58mgIron: 3mg
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37 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow, what a fabulous recipe! So many flavor levels here. This is definitely mac n cheese elevated! YUM!!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh wow! This Mac and cheese has such a beautiful color and I love that golden crust on the chicken. The flavors sound amazing too!

  3. 5 stars
    Wow, why have I never thought of this??? I have only ever thought of putting more cheese in mac and cheese haha. Bookmarked for later 🙂

  4. Alice | SkinnySpatula

    5 stars
    This looks like proper comfort food! Love the pics, too.

  5. 5 stars
    I love macaroni and cheese and this Italian twist on the classic recipe was great. While I am always down with any mac and cheese recipe, this one caught my eye and I had to make it. I was not disappointed. Everybody loved it.

  6. 5 stars
    I love mac n cheese and looking forward to trying this recipe. I think the chicken elevates this dish to a next level.

  7. 5 stars
    These flavors were fabulous what a great idea I would have never thought to incorporate chicken with this and it works!

  8. 5 stars
    This is totally comfort food at its best!! Perfect for these colder months coming up!

  9. 5 stars
    I am always down for mac and cheese, especially when it’s gourmet mac and cheese! This is a KEEPER recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    You had me at mac and cheese! I’ve been looking for a tasty mac and cheese recipe lately!

  11. 5 stars
    Oh my this looks like cheesy perfection! I love sundried tomatoes, but never would think to add them to mac and cheese…can’t wait to try this!

  12. I love adding chicken to mac and cheese for extra flavor and protein, this dish looks incredible!

  13. 5 stars
    Oh yeah, this is my new fav mac and cheese ever! I love all the flavors in this dish, and I especially love that it’s a meatier grown-up version of an old favorite!

  14. 5 stars
    I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life. I live for mac and cheese, what a way to add some protein!!

  15. 5 stars
    This is a delicious creamy pasta dish! I just love chicken and tuscan flavor.

  16. 5 stars
    Definitely not the mac n cheese i grew up with. This is so flavorful and delicious!

  17. 5 stars
    Mac and cheese is already such a comfort food, and then to add all of these delicious flavors and tender chicken? Looks absolutely fantastic, I’ll definitely be trying this out next time I have a mac craving!

  18. 5 stars
    This looks so delicious and so amazing! So excited to give this a try! My family is going to love this!

  19. 5 stars
    Totally amazing! The whole family loved this – definite keeper!

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