Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

This chicken and broccoli pasta is an easy, affordable and delicious dinner your family will love. In this recipe, chicken breasts are combined with broccoli and pasta in a creamy garlic and parmesan sauce.

A close-up of the pasta served in a blue bowl.

 

The parmesan sauce is not too heavy because it’s made with milk instead of cream. This is a great meal to make on busy weeknights, and since it makes a nice big skillet of creamy goodness, you might even have a little leftover for lunch. If you’re a fan of creamy pasta recipes try this creamy pasta with chicken or this orecchiette with Italian sausage and broccoli.

 

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Ingredients

  • 1½ tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless – cut into roughly 1 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, plus 2 tablespoons for the pasta water (we used kosher salt)
  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 3½ tablespoons Flour (all purpose)
  • 3 cups Whole Milk, warmed
  • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 12 ounces Rotelle or Rotini Pasta, cooked to package directions for al dente
  • 12 ounces Broccoli, fresh or frozen
  • Crushed Red Pepper, for serving if desired

 

Prep Work

The prep work for this pasta dish is quick and easy.

  • Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, roughly 1 inch. Try to make them about the same size so that they cook at the same rate. Season them with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Mince the garlic
  • Grate the parmesan cheese if you’re not using pre-grated.
  • Measure out the remaining ingredients.

The prepped ingredients for the dish displayed on a white table.

 

Start the pasta water

Before we start cooking, we’re going to start a large pot of water over medium to medium-high heat. Cover the pot and let the water heat up and come to a boil while you cook the chicken and start the sauce. Having the pasta water ready to go will ensure both the pasta and the sauce will be ready at about the same time. If you wait until the end to start the water, the sauce will sit too long and start to thicken.

 

Par-cook the broccoli

Par-cooking is a technique that involves partially cooking food that will finish cooking later. It’s like getting a head start on an ingredient before adding it to the rest.

 

We don’t want the broccoli fully cooked when we add it to the sauce so it doesn’t get mushy we just want to get them going. If you’re starting with fresh steam-in-the-bag vegetables: Cook the broccoli to package directions, but use only about half the suggested time. Carefully open the package to release the steam so they don’t keep cooking in the bag.

 

If you’re using frozen broccoli: you basically just want to defrost them. Follow the package directions but reduce the time. Make sure to drain all of the water before adding it to the sauce.

 

Cook’s Note: Here we used fresh broccoli that comes in a microwaveable steam bag. You can usually find them in the produce section. We cooked the broccoli for 2 minutes in the microwave, then immediately opened the package and placed them on a plate to cool.

 

Cook the chicken

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken pieces. Arrange them so they’re in a single layer. Cook the chicken, without disturbing for 2½ – 3 minutes. Stir and turn each piece and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until it’s browned on both sides. Don’t worry that it’s not cooked all the way through. It will finish cooking in the cream sauce.

 

Make the sauce

  • Add the butter to the chicken. When the butter is melted, add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Next, add the flour to the skillet and stir to combine well. Cook the flour for 2 ½ – 3 minutes to get the raw taste out. Stir frequently, almost constantly.
  • Slowly add the warm milk while stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth. When it comes to a simmer, lower the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the sauce at a gentle simmer, raise or lower heat as needed.

 

While the sauce cooks…

Make the pasta: Make sure the water is boiling vigorously and drop the pasta in the boiling water. Cook to package directions for al-dente. Remember to salt the water (we did two tablespoons of kosher salt) and to stir frequently in the beginning. Before you drain the pasta, reserve about a cup of the cooking water just in case we need to loosen the sauce.

 

Cut any large broccoli florets into smaller, bite sized pieces.

 

Finish the chicken and broccoli pasta

Add the parmesan cheese and black pepper to the sauce. Stir well until the ingredients are incorporated. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed. As a reference we added ¾ teaspoon to ours.

 

Finally, add the pasta and broccoli to the creamy sauce, stir well. Cover the skillet and cook for 2-5 minutes or until the broccoli is the desired tenderness. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water, a tablespoon or two at a time until the desired consistency is reached, stir well.

 

Serve with extra parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, if desired.

A bowl of the pasta and a fork holding up a piece of pasta, broccoli and chicken.

 

Cook’s Note: This recipe has been updated. The chicken is now pan fried instead of poached. To make the previous version: this poached chicken post has instructions for the chicken. Cut the cooked chicken into cubes and add it in at the end with the pasta and broccoli. With the exception of the cooking method for the chicken and the garnish, the rest of the ingredients remain the same.

The pasta served in a blue bowl with a beige linen on the left side and displayed on a light aqua blue table.

 

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The pasta served in a blue bowl with a beige linen on the left side and displayed on a light aqua blue table.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

This chicken and broccoli pasta is an easy, affordable and delicious dinner your family will love. In this recipe, chicken breast is combined with broccoli and pasta in a creamy garlic and parmesan sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, easy pasta dinners
Servings: 6
Calories: 538kcal
Author: Elizabeth

Ingredients

  • tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Chicken Breast boneless, skinless – cut into roughly 1 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Salt plus 2 tablespoons for the pasta water (we used kosher salt)
  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • tablespoons Flour all purpose
  • 3 cups Whole Milk warmed
  • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese grated, plus extra for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 12 ounces Rotelle or Rotini Pasta cooked to package directions for al dente
  • 12 ounces Broccoli fresh or frozen
  • Crushed Red Pepper for serving if desired

Instructions

  • Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Start a large pot of water so the water will be boiling when it’s time to cook the pasta.
  • Par-cook the broccoli – whether using fresh steam-in-the-bag or frozen, use the package directions but use only about half the suggested cooking time. Make sure to open the package to release the steam and/or drain any liquid. Cut any large broccoli florets into smaller, bite sized pieces.

Cook the chicken

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken. Arrange so they’re in a single layer. Cook, without disturbing for 2½ - 3 minutes. Stir and turn each piece and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the chicken is browned on both sides.

Make the sauce

  • Add the butter to the chicken. When the butter is melted, add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add the flour to the skillet and stir to combine well. Cook the flour for 2½ - 3 minutes. Stir frequently, almost constantly.
  • Slowly add the warm milk while stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth. When it comes to a simmer, lower the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the sauce at a gentle simmer, raise or lower heat as needed.
  • While the sauce cooks make the pasta. Cook to package directions for al-dente. Remember to salt the water. Before draining the pasta, reserve about a cup of the cooking water.

Finish the chicken and broccoli pasta

  • Add the parmesan cheese and black pepper to the sauce. Stir well until the ingredients are incorporated. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed. As a reference we added ¾ teaspoon to ours.
  • Finally, add the pasta and broccoli to the creamy sauce, stir well. Cover the skillet and cook for 2-5 minutes or until the broccoli is the desired tenderness.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water, a tablespoon or two at a time until the desired consistency is reached, stir well.
  • Serve with extra parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 538kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 1041mg | Potassium: 754mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 872IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 283mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

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