One of my favorite salads is chicken Caesar. And I'm pretty particular about it too. I haven't found many restaurants that have a dressing I like. And even less that don't feel like the romaine should be swimming in dressing. Soggy lettuce. YUCK. This super easy macaroni recipe has all the wonderful flavors of a Caesar salad. I used leftover chicken that we had grilled. I would definitely recommend doing the chicken on the grill. Feel free to substitube the cheese for another one. I left out the anchovy paste but only because I couldn't find it. I want to make this again with it, though there are many alternatives if you just can't stomach it.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta or whole wheat penne
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
3 rounded tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups freshly shredded Pecorino cheese
1 head escarole or romaine, shredded
Heat grill pan over high heat.
Coat the chicken in extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill about 12 minutes, turning occasionally, then set aside.
Bring water in saucepot to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water, add pasta and undercook by 1 minute.
While the pasta cooks, melt 6 tablespoons butter in a separate saucepot. Spoon out 1/2 and toss with the panko to moisten. Combine with 1/2 the grated Pecorino and reserve. To the remaining melted butter, add the garlic and anchovy paste, lots of coarse black pepper, stir 2 minutes then whisk in flour then stock, milk, and Worcestershire, thicken until it coats a spoon, then stir in the remaining half of the grated Pecorino.
Drain the pasta. Halve the chicken breasts lengthwise, then thinly slice and combine with the pasta and sauce, transfer to a casserole and top with the bread crumbs. Cool and store for make-ahead meal.
To reheat: Reheat, covered, in a hot 425 degree F oven to warm through, then uncover to brown.
Serve with shredded escarole or romaine and dress with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Serve alongside Chicken Caesar Mac.