This is easy and delicious. What is more, cooking pasta in stock is just ridiculously good and I should do it all the time. I finally got around to making veggie stock this weekend after having my vegetable odds and ends container full to bursting in the freezer for a while, so veggie stock is what I used, a departure from the chicken stock in the original recipe, but what she billed it as was “chicken noodle soup meets macaroni and cheese,” in which I wouldn’t feel that vegetable stock was out of place. That said, though, throwing the odd vegetable into this little number would not be out of place either. Don’t mistake me, I’m not on some kind of health kick here where I think you have to make a cheesy plate of noodles “good for you,” but chicken noodle soup tends to have some vegetables in it and I think it would be tasty in here too.
The only other real change I made was that I didn’t have any cooked chicken, so I cooked it, part of the way on its own and the rest of the way in the stock along with the noodles, which infused the stock with the chickeniness it may have lacked. Chickeniness is a word now. And once again, my clove of garlic was 2 cloves, and one was massive, so this turned out to be pretty wonderfully garlicky.
Cheesy Garlic Chicken Noodles
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups stock, vegetable or chicken, homemade or not
1/2 lb or so egg noodles – I had the normal kind, not this magical-sounding thick homestyle kind the original recipe called for, but I bet those rule
1/2 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp cold water
1 lb or so chicken breast, cubed (oh yeah, I had chunks, not shreds)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup, or more, maybe (definitely), shredded cheese – I used sharp cheddar
breadcrumbs to top it with – I had seasoned ones, which… yum – and apparently if you have bacon hanging around, you can put that on top, and why wouldn’t you?
In the pot you’re going to use, saute the chicken over medium heat. I don’t usually feel the need to add oil or butter just to cook meat, since it has its own fat which it renders so it doesn’t stick too badly, but I don’t see any problem with adding some if you feel your pot requires it. Anyway, don’t worry about cooking it through right now, just cook it on all sides.
Throw in the garlic, with a little splash of olive oil if the pan is dry by now, and saute another minute or two.
Stir in the stock.
Bring to a boil.
Add the noodles and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the noodles get some screen time with the water and the chicken doesn’t steal all of it. Add some water if it seems like you’re not going to have enough stock to cook all the noodles evenly (like if some are sticking out).
While that’s happening, stir the cold water and cornstarch together in a small bowl.
Once the noodles are nearly cooked, which is where they should be at the 8-minute mark, stir the cornstarch mixture in and let it boil for one more minute.
Remove from the heat – don’t drain it – and let it sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
Put it back on a low heat and stir in the butter, milk, and cheese until the cheese is all melted and everything is all combined with everything else.
Top with breadcrumbs, and/or bacon if you have it.
The leftovers of this are really good, too.