Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pasta Cordon Bleu

This is the first of many things I'm making with the tasty tasty Ham with Maple and Mustard Glaze we had for Easter.

I can't remember the last time I actually had Chicken Cordon Bleu.  It's been at least 8 years.  At Least.

I used to buy those little frozen breaded things at the grocery store.  They came in individual little packets.  They were great when I was just whipping up something for myself. (I thought that was cooking in those days.)  The chicken always turned out a bit on the rubbery side.  And now that I CAN cook, I won't eat rubbery chicken even if it starts raining donuts.

Don't really know why I haven't attempted to make Cordon Bleu before.  Maybe the memory of the rubbery processed stuff has lingered in my mental taste buds?  Or maybe I thought it was too much work and involved handling raw chicken.

Handling raw chicken is super icky.  I try to use a fork when possible.  You can't really get around it if you have to stuff or roll up a piece of raw chicken. That, more than anything is probably why I've never made the darn dish.

Oh ho!  But then I saw pasta cordon bleu from Amy's New Kitchen.  There's no wrapping or anything to do with raw meats.  The recipe even uses pre-cooked diced chicken and ham.  How is that for speedy awesomeness?

As is my M.O, I did not follow the recipe to the letter.  The recipe didn't get the best reviews, but I was certain I could improve on it.  I made a few changes here and there, including nearly burning the panko and breadcrumb topping under the broiler! 
It looks a lot worse than it is.

See, you can't even tell when it's all mixed together.  And what's most important, there was zero burnt taste.  In fact, until Mrblocko looks at this post, I'll wager he had no idea how "cajun" the breadcrumbs were right out of the oven.

Pasta Cordon Bleu adapted from Amy's New Kitchen
3/4 lb. Pasta (I used penne)
1 cup Chicken Breasts, cooked and cubed
1 cup Ham, cooked and cubed
1 T olive oil
1 small diced onion1 1/2 cups Milk
8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
2 T spicy or Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8t cayenne
2 cups Gruyere, shredded
2 cups defrosted peas (I only used 1 c. but it wasn't enough, and this is me who doesn't like peas saying this.)
3/4c combination of breadcrumbs and panko
1/4 cup Butter, melted

Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain and add meat to the pot, tossing to combine.  Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan saute onions in oil.  When onions begin to brown, add milk, cream cheese and mustard. Stir until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg.  Add sauce to noodles and combine, then stir in cheese and peas.  Pour into 9x13 baking dish. Combine breadcrumbs/panko with melted butter.  Evenly sprinkle breadcrumbs over top of dish.  Place under broiler for 4 minutes, watching carefully so it browns and doesn't burn.

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