- 1 generous bundle broccolini, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces or 1 small head broccoli, trimmed and cut into small, thin stalks and florets
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat removed
- 2 medium onions, 1 peeled and quartered and 1 finely chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 rounded tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 pound extra-wide egg noodles
- 1 cup white or whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Place a large pot of water on to boil for the egg noodles and broccolini. Salt the water and cook the broccolini until tender. Remove to a plate. When the broccolini is cool enough to handle, chop it into bite-size pieces.
Place the chicken in a few inches of water with the peeled and quartered onion and a couple of bay leaves. Bring the water to a low boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and gently poach the chicken for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the EVOO in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the chopped onion and garlic until tender, 8-10 minutes. Add the broccolini to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat off under the pan.
While the onion cooks, heat the butter in a medium size saucepot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, 1 minute, then whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper, freshly grated nutmeg and thyme. Thicken for 5 minutes, then whisk a little of the sauce into the egg yolks to combine, then add the egg yolks back to the sauce and whisk to combine. Turn heat down to the lowest setting.
Cook's Note: If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of chicken poaching liquid and turn off the heat. Shred the poached chicken with forks or dice it into small, bite-size pieces.
Pre-heat the broiler.
To the large pot of boiling water, add the egg noodles. Cook the noodles to al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the noodles very well and add them back to the hot pot. Stir in the broccolini, chicken and sauce, then transfer to a casserole dish. Place the casserole in the middle of the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes, until bubbly and brown. Cool and store for make-ahead meal.
To serve the casserole, heat the oven to 375°F. Mix together the panko, Gruyère, Parmigiano Reggiano and parsley. Place the casserole on a baking sheet in the upper half of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Add the topping and bake 15-20 minutes more, or until brown and crispy on top.