Tres Quesos Chicken Pasta
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- 2 garlic cloves minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt plus more for salting the water
- To taste freshly ground black pepper
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup cubed Oaxaca cheese
- 1 cup cubed asadero or muenster cheese
- Fresh cilantro chopped, for serving
- 1/2 cup crumbled queso añejo or cotija for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
- In a medium bowl combine the garlic, chili powder, oregano, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add chicken to the bowl and toss until chicken is coated in the rub.
- Once the water is boiling, cook the spaghetti until al dente, or according to package instructions. Strain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- In a large casserole set over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil. Once it melts, add the chicken and cook until all sides are browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and continue to brown for another 30 seconds.
- Pour in the milk and cream, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to remove browned bits. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water – or more if desired. Let the liquids come to a simmer and reduce until they begin to thicken.
- Add the Oaxaca and muenster cheese, saving the cojita for the topping. Once the cheese is slightly melted, take off the heat and stir in pasta. Stir until the pasta is completely coated and the cheese is melted. Serve hot. Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro and cotija cheese.