Skillet Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli / by Judy Kim

by Judy Kim


Yield: 4 - 6servings

This is my attempt to make Mac and Cheese the main event at dinner. C'mon, it has chicken AND broccoli!

But seriously, I never used to make dishes that required a bechamel sauce aka white sauce. It seemed a little intimidating, but once I realized it was just flour with milk whisked in, it somehow seemed less daunting. I guess what I'm trying to say is that no one should avoid cooking because there might be some tricky cooking vocabulary invovled. You won't know if you can do it unless you try. What do you have to lose? 45 minutes and the chance of having gooey Mac and Cheese on the table on a weeknight. I'd say it's worth it.

Macaroni elbows are usually the selection of choice, but I love cavatappi. It has more texture and ridges from the loose corkscrew shape that hold the al dente texture better. If you have a little truffle oil or truffle salt, those are always welcome ingredients.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta less 2 minutes. Strain the pasta and set aside. Add broccoli to pasta water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet on medium heat melt 1 tbsp butter and toast breadcrumbs. Stir with a wooden spoon to ensure even browning, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large oven safe skillet over medium-high heat melt remaining 1 tbsp butter. Add garlic, leeks, 1/2 tsp black pepper and sauté for 5 minutes. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in milk until well incorporated and then fold in parmesan and pecorino cheese. Turn off heat. Mix in the pasta, broccoli and chicken. 

Top with toasted breadcrumbs and mozzarella. Bake for 15 minutes and serve immediately. 


8 oz cavatappi pasta

kosher salt

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 cups broccoli florets

2 garlic, minced

2 leeks, chopped into 1/2" pieces, well washed and dried

Recipe originally published for my column " Insanely Easy Weeknight Dinners" on

freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

1/2 lb freshly grated mozzarella (save half to put on top)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley