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Sunny's Easy Chipotle Chicken Baked Mac and Cheese

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 20 min (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Chicken and Pasta

One 7-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split 

3 cloves garlic 

1 tablespoon butter or butter-flavored cooking spray, for coating the casserole dish

Kosher salt 

16 ounces penne pasta 

Sauce

4 cups heavy cream

16 ounces shredded cheese blend (Mexican or taco blend) 

1 1/3 cups Mexican crema 

2 tablespoons all-purpose or wheat flour 

1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 

4 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped

2 large eggs, beaten 

Topping

1 cup crushed corn tortilla chips (just about the texture of sand)

8 ounces shredded cheese blend (Mexican or taco blend) 

Directions

  1. For the chicken and pasta: Remove 4 to 5 chipotle peppers and a bit of adobo sauce from the can and rub it all over the chicken; measure out 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce and set aside for later (reserve any remaining chiles and adobo sauce from the can for another use). Rest the chicken in a bowl or on a plate for 2 hours total, refrigerated first for 1 1/2 hours, then at room temperature for an additional 30 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, add the garlic, chicken and the chipotle peppers from the marinade. Add just enough water to cover, then bring to a boil on medium high. Once boiling, turn the heat to the lowest setting and poach the chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and rest (reserve the poaching water for cooking the pasta). Fish out the peppers and discard them; place the garlic cloves in a large bowl and smash them with the back of a spoon or your hands. Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, shred it by hand into bite-size pieces.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Use the butter or cooking spray to coat the bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-inch casserole dish.
  4. In the same pot used to poach the chicken, add more water to the poaching water and a nice pinch of salt and bring the pot back to a boil (watch the water; it may foam up a bit from the poaching process). Add the pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package suggests. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  5. For the sauce: In the large bowl with the garlic, add the heavy cream, cheese, crema, flour, pepper, scallions, eggs, reserved 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, shredded chicken and cooked pasta. Stir to combine. Pour into the prepared dish.
  6. For the topping: In a medium bowl, toss together the crushed chips and cheese. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the dish. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.