Friday, December 20, 2013

Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

Last week I wasn't performing in the dinner department. I had a hunch that things were below average, but the husband tactfully confirmed my suspicions. "I don't know about you," he said, "but in the winter time, I tend to crave hearty dinners." Then he looked me in the eye, and I knew it was serious. "Last night we had salad for dinner."

So this week I'm back with pasta! Creamy pasta! With meat! (And a salad on the side, thankyouverymuch.)

Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli
Serves: 6-8
Adapted from Celebrations

12 ounces angel hair pasta
5 cups chopped broccoli florets (2 small heads)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large chicken breasts, butterflied
Salt and pepper
1/2 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in pasta and chopped broccoli. Cook according to package directions for al dente, about 4 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain and set aside pasta and broccoli.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Add to hot skillet and cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set chicken aside and tent with foil to keep warm.

If the skillet you cooked the chicken in is dry, add an additional tablespoon of oil. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until flour begins to toast.

Very gradually whisk in the chicken broth. (Doing this step slowly will help you avoid a lumpy sauce.) Stir in milk and nutmeg and allow the sauce to cook for 1-2 minutes to thicken. Turn off the heat and stir in yogurt and cheese. Chop cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Stir chicken, cooked pasta, and broccoli into sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta cooking water to help thin it out so it evenly coats the pasta. (Start by adding a little bit of the cooking water and then add more if needed.) Serve pasta topped with additional Parmesan cheese.

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