Did you know that the top search term related to “recipes” in Maine is “chicken recipes”? It seems that from Presque Isle to Portland, Fort Kent to Bangor, people in Maine really want good chicken recipes for dinner.
In case you are wondering where that tidbit of information came from, it’s a Google fact. Google has a tool called Trends that let’s you research what search terms are being searched for — and you can break it down by country, state or even some cities. Pretty cool stuff if you are into such things (and yes, I am).
As it happens, I was already dreaming up a big, creamy pasta dish with chicken that could feed a crowd. With the holiday season upon us, big recipes like this are so handy.
Baked Smoked Gouda Chicken Pasta has a smoky, creamy cheese sauce that enrobes pieces of browned chicken, strips of sweet roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes and — of course — pasta. It’s baked with a buttery breadcrumb topping that adds a tasty crunch to the top of this decadent dish.
And yes, this pasta dish is definitely decadent. But, as I always say, everything in moderation. Serve this with a big tossed salad, and perhaps poached fruit for dessert, and you have an elegant meal perfect for a dinner party. Or make it for dinner, and enjoy the leftovers for lunches for a few days — with fruits or veggies on the side, of course.
(For what it’s worth, I also think hot wings make a delicious chicken dinner.)
What are your favorite chicken recipes? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org — and your favorites might just appear in a future Maine Course column.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus ¼ cup, divided
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus 2 tbsp, divided
- 4 cups milk
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 4 cups grated smoked gouda cheese
- 1 lb pasta, cooked according to package directions.
- 1 cup thinly sliced sundried tomatoes
- 1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers
- ¼ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. In a resealable bag, toss together the chicken pieces, 2 tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper until well-coated. Add the chicken to the olive oil and cook, flipping as needed, until golden on each side, about 6-7 minutes.
- Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large pot. Whisk in ¼ cup all-purpose flour until well combined. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Whisk in the milk a little at a time until fully incorporated. Heat until just shy of boiling. Whisk in the mustard. Whisk in the cheese until fully incorporated. It should thicken slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cooked pasta, chicken, sundried tomatoes and roasted red peppers. Pour the cheese sauce over and mix well to combine. Spread in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the breadcrumbs until fully moistened. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta.
- Bake for 24-26 minutes until bubbly. Let cool slightly before serving.