Garlic Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

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A few weeks ago, I was asked to be a guest blogger on an established food blog Rantingchef.com.  Check out that blog for lots of inspiring recipes to try. It was such an honor to be able to contribute to this wonderful blog that delivers great recipes from around the globe.  So for my first guest post on that blog, I wrote about Garlic Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli. I thought I’d share that post on my own blog so all my readers would have a chance to see it. This is truly one of my favorite dishes. It’s a special treat when I make it and my family is always so excited at the rich and complex flavors that work so well together.
Here’s my post:
Many of you have that go to dish that you always order when you are at a particular restaurant. You don’t even need to open that menu, no need to hear those specials because you know exactly what you are having. Well, for me that dish was the Garlic Chicken Con Broccoli served at Olive Garden. After I ate that a few times, I knew I could create it myself and even master it so the flavors blend perfectly. If you’ve never had this dish, it is made of orecchiette pasta which is a little bowl shaped pasta. You could also use medium shell pasta which works fine. The pasta is tossed with a garlic cream sauce and topped with broccoli and flavorful seasoned chicken. Is your stomach starting to growl yet? This dish has a few components, but what I really like about it, is that it can be taken apart and adjusted to your taste and dietary needs. You can make just the seasoned chicken and serve with broccoli or a side of your choice. You could just make the pasta in the garlic cream sauce and omit the chicken. You could leave out the broccoli if the mini green vitamin trees are not your favorite. It’s versatile, it’s flavorful, and my family loves it!
Garlic Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli
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Ingredients:
1 lb orecchiette pasta
12-16 oz frozen broccoli. Steamable bags work well.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 C Heavy Cream
5-7 Garlic Cloves – minced finely
4 TBS butter
1/2 C flour
1 TBS olive oil
2 teas low sodium chicken soup base or 2 low sodium chicken bullion cubes mixed in 2 C boiling water
2 teas dried basil
2 teas dried parsley
2 teas rosemary – dried or fresh chopped
1/2 teas red pepper flakes
Kosher or Sea Salt
black pepper
1/4 C shredded or grated Asiago cheese
1/2 C grated or finely shredded Parmesan cheese or blend for garnish.
Directions:
Herb Chicken –
Combine basil, parsley, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Mix in 1/2 teas salt and 1/2 teas black pepper.
Wash and dry chicken breasts. Evenly season both sides with above spice mixture.
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Heat a large non stick pan or skillet with olive oil on medium heat.
Add seasoned chicken to the pan. Cook chicken over medium to low heat, turning over once first side is done and light golden brown. Chicken will continue to cook as you prepare the garlic cream sauce and pasta. You can add a few TBS of water and cover the chicken, and turn down to low simmer near the end of cooking to keep it moist.
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Garlic Cream Sauce –
Melt Butter in large pot and add in minced garlic.
Saute over low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
Add in flour and combine with melted butter and garlic to make roux
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Stir roux for a few minutes on low heat to cook flour until golden brown.
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Pour in heavy cream, chicken base/boiling water mixture, Asiago cheese and whisk gently until combined and smooth.
Salt and pepper to taste and stir gently. Sauce will thicken. Turn down to simmer.
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Boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions. When the pasta is almost done, add a ladle of pasta water to the sauce and stir to combine.
As the pasta is cooking, steam your frozen broccoli in the microwave, but for only 3-4 minutes. You can add more time if broccoli is still too frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook once it’s tossed with the hot pasta and sauce. You do not want over cooked, mushy broccoli. Remove steamed broccoli from microwave and bag and gently add it to the sauce, or keep it on the side if you prefer.
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Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the Garlic Cream Sauce and gently toss.
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Sliced cooked Herb Chicken against the grain, returning to skillet to stay warm and moist.
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Serve Pasta and Garlic Cream Sauce with Broccoli on top or on the side. Add slices of Herb Chicken on top of pasta and top with a little Parmesan cheese for garnish.
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Enjoy!

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