The other day at Trader Joe's I saw some Chipotle Chicken Sausage and figured I would give chicken a shot, since turkey was unanimously voted down at my house. These are precooked and really flavorful- pretty hot actually, and it was perfect with the mild creamy sauce. Also, I usually substitute chicken stock for lots of the milk or cream to help cut back and I don't think you could even tell (though the cups of cheese might have helped in this department!)
I used the new Ronzoni smart taste which is higher in fiber and tastes great (same with the Barilla too). I have also added pureed vegetables to my pasta dishes in the past without adverse taste or texture. Sometimes I sneak a container or two of baby food squash in and no one is the wiser. I'll get around to making puree's like Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef recommend, but for now, baby food works and I have it on hand anyways!
Southwest Macaroni with Chipotle Chicken Sausage
1 box elbow pasta
3 T. flour
3 T. butter
1 C. milk
3 C. chicken broth
2 1/2 C. Cheese (I like sharp cheddar and pepper jack mixed)
4 scallions (green part only), roughly chopped
1 package chicken sausage, chopped in 1/4 inch slices, and browned quickly to warm through
Cook pasta one minute less than the al dente directions. The macaroni will continue cooking so make sure to cook it at least a minute or two less so it doesn't turn mushy. Brown the sausage in a skillet or grill pan until heated through. Then cut into 1/4 inch pieces and set aside.
Meanwhile, start the sauce:
Grate 1/2 an onion into a large saucepan with deep walls. Add flour and butter and put over low heat. Make a roux by whisking it together and cooking it on low for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour taste. It should be nice and light brown. Then, whisk in the milk and chicken broth until everything is well incorporated. Add fresh ground pepper, and red pepper flakes if you like it hot, and let it thicken up for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Stock or bullion is usually so salty I don't add any salt at all.
After sauce is nice and thick, remove from heat. Slowly stir in the cheese, but be careful to not overeat it so it begins to separate. Put the cooked pasta into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add the sausage, green onion, and halved grape tomatoes (if you like cooked tomatoes, I only did this in half of my dish). Pour the cheese sauce over everything and stir.
Top with breadcrumbs, if desired, cover with tin foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350. Make sure the pasta is underdone, though, or you'll end up with macaroni mush! I usually just bake mine for a bit to warm everything through, turn off the oven, and leave it in there until everyone is home and ready for dinner. Enjoy!