Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken & Shells

This was one of those nights when I opened the fridge and stared blankly into the abyss.  I shut the fridge and reopened it at least three times before removing the chicken.  That was step one.
Unsure of how to proceed, I moved on to the pantry, which I opened and closed at least twice before pulling out the pasta shells.  This continued until my counter was loaded with heavy cream, parmesan, frozen broccoli, chicken, mozzarella, butter, and shells.  Decided this was going to have to work and moved on to the cooking portion of the evening.

As I boiled the pasta, of course adding at least half a cup of salt to the hot water, I started a sauce.  I guess I could write this as a recipe in case anyone wants to make it, so here goes....


1 lb uncooked chicken breasts, diced
1 package chopped frozen broccoli
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup butter
3 cloves minced garlic
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 package pasta shells

Cook pasta to al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of water. Pour reserved water back into pasta in a large mixing bowl.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in a tablespoon of olive oil until done.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Stir in both cheeses and heavy cream, mixing well to incorporate. If it's looking like it isn't saucy enough, you might want to splash in some chicken broth.  Add in broccoli and cook at a light simmer until warmed through. Toss sauce with pasta.  Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and basil.

I think this one was a winner, especially for one of those random dinners that was tossed together at the last minute.  Feel free to change it up as you see fit, exchanging the broccoli for sun dried tomatoes and sliced black olives, or roasted red peppers and sauteed mushrooms. The possibilities are endless!

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