Pasta, and chicken in a simple olive oil, garlic and broccoli sauce. This is one of my favorite quick and easy pasta recipes. I’ve been making it for years, ever since a work friend shared it with me over lunch one day decades ago.
I used to make it with penne or rigatoni, but now I use whatever short-cut gluten-free pasta I happen to have in the pantry. Last night it was rotini.
I’ve since learned that pasta with broccoli is a pretty standard dish in most every southern Italian cook’s repertoire and a delicious version shows up in Dom Deluise’s great cookbook, Eat This .. It’ll Make You Feel Better.
I like to cook the broccoli as long as the pasta, so it falls apart upon stirring and becomes a course puree. It’s delicious with or without the chicken, so leave it out if you like.
I’ve made it lighter and healthier through the years too – by using less olive oil and more chicken broth, white wine and some of the reserved pasta water.
Be sure to use good cheese in this simple recipe – not the cheap stuff; it’s just not the same. Either Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano work well. You can also add some crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat if you like.
I like to serve it with a simple mixed green salad.
- 6 ounces penne or rotini pasta (about 3 cups)
- 4-1/2 cups broccoli florets (about 12 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 12 ounces chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 to 3
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup dry white wine (optional)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When water boils, add a generous handful of salt, add pasta and broccoli and cook according to pasta instructions for al dente. When pasta is almost done cooking, reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and broccoli.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until the chicken is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken broth and wine, if using, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Add the pasta and broccoli to the skillet, along with the grated cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.
- If the mixture seems dry, add the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, using only as much as needed.
- Serve immediately pasta bowls with additional grated cheese and red pepper flakes on the side