Chicky-Cauliflower-Cheesy Bake

chickyThis is comfort food, simply put. Just add some nice bread and a salad and you gotta meal that will satisfy.

Easy to put together as well.

And this works nicely with leftover turkey as well, so around the holidays, what’s not to like here?

Vary your cheese as you please, and any kind of pasta will do.

So get busy!


  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 4 ounces Gruyère, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound cauliflower florets
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 7 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch shards, (I used rotelli, about a cup uncooked)
  • 3/4 cup panko (or plain bread crumbs)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated


  1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth and milk, removing all lumps. Bring to simmer, remove from heat, and slowly whisk in cheddar and Gruyère until melted and smooth. Stir in chili flakes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside and keep warm.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower and cook briefly, stirring occasionally—cauliflower should remain crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to baking dish.

  3. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and ground chipotle and cook until almost cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to baking dish.

  4. Cook the pasta until al dente. Place in the baking dish with the chicken and cauliflower. Pour the cheese sauce over. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and toss with panko, grated Parmesan, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Remove baking dish from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle with bread crumb topping and continue to bake until browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes more. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

    SERVES: 6

    NOTES: Vary the cheeses as you desire, as well as the pasta. You can break up no-cook lasagna noodles (original to the recipe) which would speed up the prep time. As I said above, leftover turkey from holidays would be great with this, as well as cubed ham.

    SOURCE: Serious Eats with slight modifications.

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