Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

The combination of chicken and broccoli with pasta is not just a testament to culinary simplicity but also to the adaptability of pasta dishes across various cuisines. This dish, beloved for its creamy texture and hearty ingredients, holds a special place in both home kitchens and restaurant menus. Over time, Chicken and Broccoli Pasta has evolved from basic noodle creations to become a staple that epitomizes comfort food.

Starting from its roots in Italian cuisine, the pasta dish has embraced influences that span across continents. The versatility of pasta allows it to blend seamlessly with a wide range of ingredients, adapting to the dietary preferences and available local ingredients of any region. This dish, in particular, showcases how pasta can serve as a foundation for nutritious, vibrant vegetables like broccoli, and protein-packed chicken, making it a balanced meal.

It’s the ease of preparation that really sets Chicken and Broccoli Pasta apart. Ideal for a quick weeknight dinner yet elegant enough for entertaining guests, it straddles the line between casual and sophisticated dining. Whether tossed in a light garlic sauce or drenched in a rich, creamy cheese sauce, the fundamental elements of chicken, broccoli, and pasta come together to satisfy a myriad of tastes and dietary needs.

Essential Ingredients :

When crafting the perfect Chicken and Broccoli Pasta, selecting the right ingredients is crucial. Each component brings its unique flavor and texture, contributing to the overall harmony of the dish.

  • Chicken: Opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts for lean protein that cooks quickly and evenly.
  • Broccoli: Fresh broccoli florets provide crunch and a burst of green color. Ensure they are fresh to maintain the best texture and nutrient content.
  • Pasta: Choose a pasta like fusilli or penne that can hold sauce well. These shapes interlock with the pieces of chicken and broccoli, ensuring every bite is flavorful.
  • Cheeses: A combination of Parmesan and Asiago cheese lends a sharp, savory depth to the sauce.
  • Cream Base: For the sauce, a mix of milk and a light cream or half-and-half balances richness and caloric content.

Enhancing the dish with quality ingredients can elevate it from a simple meal to an extraordinary culinary experience. For example, using Parmesan from Parmigiano-Reggiano ensures authenticity and flavor depth, unmatched by pre-shredded options. Similarly, incorporating a dash of lemon juice adds a subtle zest that brightens the creamy sauce.

By investing in the best ingredients, not only does the taste improve, but so does the nutritional value. Fresh, high-quality components like broccoli and chicken are loaded with vitamins and proteins essential for a balanced diet.

Cooking Techniques :

Mastering the cooking techniques for Chicken and Broccoli Pasta can greatly enhance the flavors and textures of the dish. Here’s a detailed look at each critical step:

  • Searing the Chicken: Begin by seasoning the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and sear the chicken until golden brown on both sides. This process not only cooks the chicken but also adds a rich flavor base to the pan, crucial for the sauce later.
  • Boiling the Pasta: Cook your choice of pasta—be it fusilli or penne—in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. The pasta should be firm to the bite, which prevents it from becoming mushy when mixed with the sauce.
  • Preparing the Broccoli: Add broccoli florets to the pasta water during the last three minutes of cooking. This not only saves time and pans but also ensures the broccoli is perfectly tender yet crisp.
  • Creating the Cream Sauce: In the same pan used for the chicken, add a bit of butter and minced garlic, sautéing until fragrant. Sprinkle flour over the mixture to create a roux, then gradually whisk in chicken broth and cream. Let the sauce simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Combining the Ingredients: Once the sauce is creamy and smooth, mix in the grated Parmesan and Asiago cheese, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice for freshness. Finally, fold in the drained pasta and broccoli, and the cooked chicken, ensuring everything is coated evenly with the sauce.

Each of these steps is essential to achieve the perfect balance of flavors and textures in your Chicken and Broccoli Pasta. Using freshly grated cheese, as recommended by culinary experts, makes a significant difference in the sauce’s texture and flavor profile.

Sauce Preparation :

Creating the perfect sauce for Chicken and Broccoli Pasta involves a delicate balance of flavors and a careful cooking process. Here’s how to craft a creamy, savory sauce that complements the dish beautifully:

  • Base Ingredients: Start with the basics: melt butter in the same pan where the chicken was cooked to make use of the flavorful brown bits (fond) left behind. Add finely minced garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, which should take about a minute, setting the foundational flavors of your sauce.
  • Thickening the Sauce: Sprinkle all-purpose flour over the butter and garlic, stirring constantly to cook the flour and avoid lumps. This roux will help thicken your sauce and add a silky texture.
  • Adding Liquids: Slowly pour in chicken broth and cream, stirring continuously. The gradual addition ensures a smooth consistency without clumps. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until it thickens slightly, which enhances the sauce’s ability to coat the pasta and vegetables evenly.
  • Flavor Enhancements: Season the sauce with Italian seasonings, a pinch of salt, and black pepper. For a subtle kick, a dash of mustard powder can be added. These seasonings deepen the sauce’s complexity.
  • Cheese Incorporation: Once the sauce is velvety and nearing completion, lower the heat and gradually stir in grated Parmesan and Asiago cheese. Adding the cheese slowly and at a lower temperature prevents it from clumping and ensures it melts into a smooth, rich sauce.
  • Final Touches: To finish, stir in a splash of lemon juice to cut through the richness and add brightness to the dish. The acidity of the lemon juice lifts the other flavors and balances the creamy texture.

Proper sauce preparation is not just about following steps; it’s about layering flavors and textures to achieve a harmonious blend that elevates the pasta dish from good to great. Using quality ingredients like real Parmesan cheese and fresh cream can make all the difference in the depth and richness of your sauce.

Combining Ingredients :

The final step in creating a delicious Chicken and Broccoli Pasta is effectively combining all the prepared components. This stage is crucial as it ensures every element of the dish harmonizes to create a perfect bite. Here’s how to bring everything together:

  • Incorporate the Pasta and Vegetables: Start by adding the al dente pasta to the creamy sauce. Next, gently fold in the steamed broccoli florets. The key here is to mix them carefully to avoid breaking the pasta or mashing the broccoli, maintaining their ideal textures.
  • Add the Chicken: Cut the seared chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, if not already done. Add these to the pan with the pasta and broccoli. The chicken adds a hearty protein element that complements the creamy texture of the sauce and the crispness of the broccoli.
  • Mix Thoroughly: Stir the mixture gently but thoroughly to ensure that the sauce coats every piece of pasta, broccoli, and chicken. This integration is crucial for distributing the flavors evenly throughout the dish.
  • Heat Through: Once combined, return the pan to a low heat to warm everything through. This step is vital as it helps the flavors meld together and ensures the dish is served hot.
  • Season and Serve: Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning with a bit more salt or pepper if needed. A final sprinkle of Parmesan over the top before serving can add an extra layer of flavor.
  • Presentation: Serve the Chicken and Broccoli Pasta in a warm bowl or plate to enhance its comfort food appeal. Garnishing with a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes or fresh herbs can add color and a hint of spice or freshness, respectively.

Combining the ingredients with care not only preserves the individual components’ integrity but also ensures that each forkful is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. This step transforms the separate ingredients into a cohesive, comforting dish that’s sure to satisfy.

Variations of the Recipe :

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta is a versatile dish that can be tailored to meet various dietary preferences and taste profiles. Here are some creative variations to keep the recipe fresh and exciting:

  • Gluten-Free Options: Substitute the regular pasta with a gluten-free alternative like rice pasta or quinoa pasta. These options ensure that those with gluten sensitivities can still enjoy this hearty dish.
  • Lactose-Free Alternatives: For a dairy-free version, replace the cream with lactose-free milk or a plant-based milk like almond or coconut milk. Use vegan cheese in place of Parmesan and Asiago to maintain the creamy texture without the dairy.
  • Add More Vegetables: Boost the nutritional content by adding other vegetables such as spinach, bell peppers, or mushrooms. These can be sautéed along with the garlic before adding to the sauce.
  • Protein Variations: While chicken is a classic choice, you can easily substitute it with other proteins such as shrimp, tofu, or even sliced sausage for different flavors and textures.
  • Spicy Kick: For those who prefer a bit of heat, incorporating a dash of crushed red pepper or a spoonful of spicy Arrabbiata sauce can add a vibrant kick to the dish.
  • Herbal Notes: Fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or parsley can be sprinkled on top before serving. These herbs add a burst of freshness and can enhance the aromatic profile of the pasta.

By experimenting with these variations, Chicken and Broccoli Pasta can be adapted to suit almost any palate or dietary requirement, making it a truly universal dish. Such adaptability not only extends its appeal but also encourages culinary creativity in the kitchen.

Presentation and Serving Suggestions :

The presentation of Chicken and Broccoli Pasta can significantly enhance the dining experience. Here are some tips to serve this dish in a way that appeals both to the eyes and the palate:

  • Plating Techniques: Serve the pasta in a shallow bowl or a wide plate to showcase its creamy texture and colorful ingredients. Use a pair of tongs to twirl the pasta into a neat nest in the center of the plate, then strategically place the chicken and broccoli around it for visual appeal.
  • Garnishes: A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top adds a touch of sophistication and boosts the flavor. Adding a light dusting of red pepper flakes or freshly cracked black pepper can also enhance the visual appeal and introduce a subtle heat. For a burst of color and freshness, garnish with chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves.
  • Side Dishes: Although Chicken and Broccoli Pasta is hearty enough to stand alone, it pairs beautifully with a crisp side salad dressed with a light vinaigrette or a piece of crusty garlic bread to soak up the creamy sauce.
  • Serving Size: Portion control is key to serving. Provide enough to satisfy hunger without overwhelming the plate. This consideration ensures that each component of the dish is enjoyed in the perfect balance.

Presentation isn’t just about making a dish look attractive; it’s about enhancing every aspect of the meal, from the flavors and textures to the overall ambiance of the dining experience. Thoughtful presentation turns a simple meal into a memorable feast.

FAQs :

When preparing Chicken and Broccoli Pasta, several common questions arise regarding ingredients and cooking methods. Addressing these can help ensure your dish turns out perfectly every time.

  • Can I use frozen broccoli?
    Yes, frozen broccoli is a convenient alternative to fresh. It’s already partially cooked, so you can reduce the cooking time by about a minute when adding it to the pasta water. Just make sure to thaw and drain it well to avoid adding excess water to the dish.
  • What can I substitute for white wine in the sauce?
    If you prefer not to use white wine, chicken broth or vegetable broth are excellent substitutes that still add depth to the sauce. For a bit of the acidity that wine would normally contribute, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar or lemon juice can be added.
  • How do I prevent the cream sauce from curdling?
    Curdling occurs when heat is too high or the cream is added too quickly. To prevent this, ensure your cooking temperature is low when adding the cream to the sauce. Gradually stir the cream into the sauce to temper it and integrate it smoothly. Also, avoid boiling the sauce once the cream is added; a gentle simmer is sufficient.
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Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

  • Author: Easy Recipes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes



2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

2 tablespoons butter

16 ounces pipe rigate pasta (or your favorite pasta)

2 cups broccoli florets

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2½ cups milk

2 cups vegetable broth

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama® seasoning

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

3-ounce bag sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped


In a large pot, cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente. Add broccoli to the pasta in the last three minutes of cooking. Drain and return to the pan. Add chopped dried tomatoes.
In a large skillet or frying pan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add chicken, onions, seasonings, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and onions are tender.
Sprinkle flour over the chicken mixture, stir, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Pour milk and chicken broth into the skillet, stir, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Once the sauce has thickened slightly, add cheese and stir until combined.
Pour the sauce mixture into the pasta and broccoli. Stir to combine.
Serve warm, optionally accompanied by a side salad or crusty bread with butter or garlic bread.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • Serving Size: 4 servings
  • Calories: 640 kcal

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