make roux2. Make the roux.

seasonings3. Seasonings

add the cheese4. Add shredded cheese

textureAfter all cheese is added, should have a gooey texture

stir in chicken5. Stir in chicken

Parmesan Penne6. Serve








© 2012
Lauren McElroy

Yield: 2 servings

This is a great, quick-cooking dish that is low on clean up, because it can be made using only 1 pot! Feel free to increase or change what types of cheese you use, as long as they are cheeses that melt easily, any can be substituted. You may also swtich out the types of food added, in this version I use asparagus, mushrooms, spinach and grilled chicken; but feel free to mix it up with your favorites.

1 (8-oz.) package penne pasta (or any favorite short pasta: rigatoni, shells, spirals, etc)
4 stalks asparagus, trimmed of rough ends and chopped
1.5 Tb butter
1.5 Tb all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 tsp onion powder
pinch dried thyme
pinch dried basil
pinch red chili flakes
3 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 chicken breasts, grilled and medium diced
1 cup fresh spinach, I like to remove the stems
Salt & Pepper, to taste
5 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
3 oz cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the chopped asparagus. Drain together and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the same medium-sized pot over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth to make a light blonde roux. Cook 2 minutes, whisking. Gradually whisk in milk, increase the heat to just below boiling until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes; See picture above, left.
  3. Stir in seasonings. Simmer over low heat for 30 secs. Add mushrooms and spinach and cook an additional 3 mins (or until tender).
  4. Add shredded cheese handfuls at a time until completely melted and combined.
  5. Add cooked chicken, stir to coat. Add cooked pasta and asparagus, and stir to coat.
  6. Serve with extra parmesan cheese and fresh black pepper.

Note: To lighten, 1 or 2% reduced-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese may be substituted.
Fresh herbs may be substituted, but use about 50% less than what the recipe calls for.

parmesan pasta

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