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Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

from Cook's Illustrated (Jan/Feb 2005)

4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed of fat and cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
1 small onion, chopped fine (2/3 cup)
6 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed (2 tbsp)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp all-purpose flour (I tend to use a little more - like 2 tbsp)
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch broccoli (1 1/2 lbs), florets trimmed into 1" pieces (6 cups)
1/2 lb penne, ziti, cavatappi, or campanelle (I used bow-tie tonight)
2 oz finely grated Asiago cheese (1 cup), plus extra for serving (you can substitute Parmesan)
1 jar (7 - 8 1/2 oz) oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/4" strips (1 cup)
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper

Bring 4 quarts of water to rolling boil, covered, in stockpot.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp butter in 12" skillet over high heat until just beginning to brown (about 1 min). Add chicken in single layer; cook for 1 minute w/o stirring, then stir chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, pink color has disappeared and chicken is lightly browned around the edges (about 2 min longer). Transfer chicken to clean bowl; set aside.

Return skillet to high heat and add 1 tbsp butter; add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally until browned around edges (2-3 min). Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and flour; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant (30 sec). Add wine and chicken broth; bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened slightly and reduced to 1 1/4 cups (15 min).

While sauce simmers, add 1 tbsp salt and broccoli to boiling water; cook until broccoli is tender but still crisp at center (2 min or less). Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to large paper towel-lined plate. Return water to boil; stir in pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water; return pasta to pot.

Once sauce is thickened, stir remaining 2 tbsp butter, Asiago, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and chicken into sauce in skillet; cook until chicken is hot and cooked through (1-2 minutes). Off heat, season to taste with pepper. Pour chicken/sauce mixture over pasta and add broccoli; toss gently to combine, adding pasta cooking water as needed to adjust sauce consistency. Serve immediately, passing additional Asiago separately.

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