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close uo of mac and cheese with chicken in a bowl (macarronada com requeijao)
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5 from 1 vote

Brazilian Mac and Cheese with Chicken (Macarronada com Requeijão)

This Brazilian mac and cheese with chicken, also known as macarronada, is a baked pasta with a white cheese creamy sauce and chicken. It takes about 25 minutes to bake and is super creamy and delicious. Simply one of my family’s favorite easy dinners on a budget!
Course:Main Course
Cuisine:Brazilian
Keywords:baked pasta, cheese, chicken, mac and cheese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories783 kcal
Cost $ 1.50 per person

Equipment

  • pan
  • Baking dish or cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • 16 oz penne pasta about 450 g For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free pasta. For wholesome pasta, use whole grain pasta.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce I used a marinara sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste I used about 2 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil thinly shredded
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz store-bought REQUEIJÃO in a jar or HOMEMADE Brazilian cream cheese or 240 g, SUBSTITUTE: American cream cheese at room temperature and cut into chunks
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese shredded (or 227 g) plus 1/3 cup
  • 8 oz rotisserie chicken shredded or cooked chicken, cubed (227 g)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F (180º C).
  • Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the package. It takes about 10 minutes! Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Set aside!
  • Heat the same pan that you cooked the pasta over medium heat and then sauté the garlic in olive oil, about 1 minute. Mix in the wine, the tomato sauce, the salt, pepper, basil, and the reserved pasta water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, Brazilian cream cheese spread or American cream cheese, and 8 oz of mozzarella cheese until these 2 cheese melt. Then, mix in the chicken. NOTE: If using the American cream cheese, make sure it is at room temperature and also use a whisk to mix the cream cheese with the other ingredients until the mixture is smooth (not lumpy).
  • Place the cooked and drained pasta into the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Transfer to either a large cast-iron skillet or to a medium-sized deep baking dish (about 9-1/2 by 7-1/5 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep).
  • Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of mozzarella and also the Parmesan cheese on top. Grease one side of a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray (to prevent the cheeses from sticking to the foil) and then cover the top of the baking dish with the foil, greased side down.
  • Bake in the middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and let cook uncovered for 5 minutes more. Serve immediately with a fresh salad, air fryer asparagus, or air fryer Brussels sprouts.

Recipe Notes

Store-bough requeijão is available refrigerated in Latin or Middle-Eastern supermarkets under different brands.

Storage

Store mac and cheese with chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
You can freeze it for up to one month. But be aware the sauce will thicken and may become lumpy after reheating. Make sure to thaw the pasta in the fridge and then reheat.
To reheat, add some warm heavy cream after reheating the pasta (as much as needed to loosen the sauce). Mix it well in order to it smooth. If you want, add more mozzarella.    

Nutrition

Calories: 783kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 858mg | Potassium: 502mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1677IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 304mg | Iron: 2mg
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