Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Creamy Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli

Creamy Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli

Well, Eddie's at school tonight, so I'm cooking pasta for me and my eating buddy Ezra.  (Max gets a grilled hamburger patty and his favorite fried potatoes.)  This pasta is sort of an Alfredo, I think, but I don't really follow a recipe, so I'm just calling it Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli.  I think a real Alfredo stays creamy longer---maybe because there's an egg yolk in it or something, or more cream is used.  I'm not sure.  I just like this because I usually have all the ingredients on hand and because I just love pasta.
A lot of the flavor in this dish comes from the seasoning you put on the chicken, so make sure you choose a flavorful marinade.  I use Weber Canadian Chicken seasoning that I bought at Sam's Club, but when I googled "Weber Canadian Chicken Seasoning," it really only showed Sam's Club as a store that carries it. Even Amazon has a picture but says it's not available.  Not sure why they do that, but there you go.  Any flavorful, garlicky Italian salad dressing will probably work here.  Just make sure you already like the flavor of it before dousing your chicken with it.
This dish has just the right amount of richness, as far as I'm concerned.  Just enough cream and butter to get me into trouble, but not so much I feel sick after eating it.  I've made it with half and half, and that works okay if you're trying to make it lighter.  If you're not concerned about calories, by all means, go for the heavy cream.
If nothing else, this is a good base to add other ingredients that you like with pasta.  Hope you enjoy it as much as Ezra and I do.

Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound chicken breasts
  • Italian dressing or other Italiany chicken marinade
  • 3 cups dry pasta (I use Barilla piccolini Mini Farfalle)
  • water to boil pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small to medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli* (I like mine al dente)
Instructions:
Marinate the chicken breast in Italian dressing for half an hour to an hour.  Heat up your grill and grill chicken until cooked.  Alternatively, fry the chicken in a pan. (I'm hoping you can do this on your own without all the instructions, because grilling and cooking chicken is another thing.)

Bring water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan and add the tablespoon of salt.  Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Pour hot pasta water into the serving bowl to within 1/2 inch of the top (this warms the bowl so the pasta stays hot/warm longer). Drain remaining water and set pasta aside in a colander or other bowl.

Return pot to the stove and turn heat to medium-low.  Melt butter in the pot and then add the minced garlic and pepper.*  Cook for about one minute and then add the cream or half & half.  Bring mixture to a simmer.  Put the pasta back in the pot and stir.  Add parmesan cheese.  Stir.  Add chicken and broccoli.  Stir again.  Pour water out of the serving bowl and add pasta.

*Instead of broccoli, you can also use spinach (see photo below). I use half a bag of packaged spinach. I add it to the butter and garlic before adding the cream. Stir until the spinach is bright green, wilted, and shiny. Then proceed with the recipe as before, except without the broccoli.

Makes 4-6 servings

Just so you know what I consider "a serving."
So you know what the Canadian
Chicken Seasoning looks like.
Creamy Pasta with Chicken & Spinach
Ezra likes this one better.

3 comments:

  1. I am still not quite sure on what I use the water for after reading your post? whay do I save it in a bowl?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! That's actually a good question. It took me a little while to figure out what you meant. :) I revised the instructions to include an explanation for the hot water in the serving bowl step. It's just a way to warm up the serving bowl so that when your finished pasta is in there, it will stay warm longer than if it's placed in a cold serving bowl. I'm pretty sure I saw someone do it on Food Network, and it works great. :)

      Delete
  2. OMG with spinach. I cant wait to try this one next. :)

    ReplyDelete

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