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.
1poundChicken Breastboneless, skinless – cut into roughly 1 inch pieces
1teaspoonSaltplus 2 tablespoons for the pasta water (we used kosher salt)
½cupParmesan Cheesegrated, plus extra for serving
12ouncesRotelle or Rotini Pastacooked to package directions for al dente
12ouncesBroccolifresh or frozen
Crushed Red Pepperfor serving if desired
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.