This dinner is my go to meal. Whenever I’m too tired to cook, forgot to defrost something from the freezer, or just rather call for take out, this is what we end up with 9 times out of 10. It is easy, delicious, healthy, and I always have all the ingredients on hand.
In high school, I worked at a small Italian restaurant for a wonderful Sicilian man. He was a great chef, boss, and overall wonderful person. When he added this dish to his menu, I ordered it as my dinner almost nightly. While working there, the closest I got to making the dinners was by being the salad girl, so needless to say, my culinary skills were not very high. So many years later, I find myself preparing meals and using ideas and concepts from when I worked there. My old boss is no longer with us, but I’d love to take this opportunity to say thank you for inspiring my family’s favorite dinner and for unknowingly influencing my love of cooking so much later on in life.
Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Oil and Garlic Sauce
2 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat, and cut into cubes
1 lb. broccoli, steamed (I love the steamable bags)
1 lb. whole wheat linguini ( we prefer whole wheat but use white if you’d like!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 to 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup pasta cooking water, reserved
Note: I do not have measurements for the spices because I find that everyone’s palette differs on this recipe. Add seasonings as you cook, and keep tasting until it tastes good to you!
Begin by cooking your pasta your preferred method. Make sure you are cooking the pasta in salted water.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, brown chicken in 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the two minced garlic cloves. Do not stir chicken until it has the opportunity to brown. You don’t want white chicken! Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes if you are using them. Once browned, add the steamed broccoli to the chicken mixture and stir to incorporate the broccoli with the chicken and seasonings.
Once your pasta is cooked, drain, but reserve 1/2 cup of the hot liquid. Add the water to the chicken and broccoli mixture. This starchy water helps the sauce stick. Add your linguini to the pan with the chicken and stir to mix. Add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, stir, then taste for seasonings. I always add more here.
Serve immediately and enjoy!