Busy nights call for easy meals. This One-Skillet Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta will soon become a favorite weeknight dinner.
Everyone has busy weeknights whether you get home from work late or your kids have after school activities. Keeping an easy meal in your repertoire for these nights keeps your stress level to a minimum.
I’m going to apologize right now for the slightly misleading recipe title. You do need to cook the broccoli before adding it to the pasta. Technically you could cook it in the same skillet you brown the chicken and cook the pasta but I did it separately.
At-a-glance list of ingredients to help you make your shopping list.
- Chicken Broth
- Penne Pasta
- Whipping Cream
- Parmesan Cheese
To save even more time, there are a few steps you can do in advance to get this meal on the table in less time.
- Prepare the chicken – Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and store in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use. Do this 1 – 2 days in advance.
- Prepare the broccoli – Cut up the broccoli into florets, saving or discarding the stems. Do this 1 – 2 days in advance.
- Cook the broccoli – You can certainly blanche the broccoli in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator. Be careful here to not do this step too far in advance. The broccoli could get mushy. Drain it well before storing it. Do this no more than 1 day in advance.
- Chop up the parsely – If you do this ahead of time you’re more likely to use it. Not only does it make the finished dish look pretty it adds a bit of flavor. Do this no more than 1 day in advance or the parsley will begin to lose its vibrant color.
What is Blanching?
Blanching is cooking technique everyone should know. Essentially it’s cooking a vegetable in boiling water, for a very short period of time, then plunging the vegetable into ice water. Adding the vegetables to ice water shocks the veggie and stops the cooking, also preserving the color.
So you don’t really like broccoli. You can add in a variety of other veggies in its place. Great substitutions include:
- Asparagus – Best to blanche this too!
- Sliced Mushrooms
- Pureed Chipotles in Adobo Sauce
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Cut the chicken and broccoli pieces similar sizes and not too big. Bite size is good.
- Don’t use any other pasta besided penne. It cooks perfectly per the directions. If you choose a different shape, such as rotini or ziti, it won’t cook properly. Trust me on this, I’ve tried.
- Don’t skip the Parmesan. It adds saltiness and a rich flavor to the dish.
More Skillet Recipes
Skillet recipes are some of my favorites to make. These are all main dishes but I love dessert skillets too.
- Pasta Skillet
- Meat Lover’s Skillet Pizza
- Individual Sausage and Spinach Skillet Frittatas
- Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner
Favorite Chicken Recipes from Blogger Friends
- Blackened Chicken from Art of Natural Living
- Chicken and Avocado Salad from That Recipe
- Chicken Macaroni Salad from Leftovers Then Breakfast
- Chicken Ramen Stir Fry from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chicken Tortillas from The Freshman Cook
- Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas from The Spiffy Cookie
- Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Creamy Chicken with sun Dried Tomatoes from Lemon Blossoms
- Easy Slow Cooker Italian Chicken from Blogghetti
- Garlic and Ginger Caramel Chicken Thighs from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Hot Chicken and Pancake Tacos from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- One Skillet Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta from Family Around the Table
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 4 cups chicken broth, preferably low-sodium
- 1 package (1 pound) penne rigate or ziti
- 1 ½ cups heavy (whipping) cream or half-and-half, warmed
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lightly steam or blanch the broccoli florets, then plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
- Melt the butter in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, in batches if necessary, and sauté until nicely browned on the outside, and cooked through. As the chicken cooks, remove it from the pan to a plate and continue cooking all the chicken.
- Do not clean the pan! The brown bits on the bottom are going to add flavor to the sauce. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté over medium heat, briefly, until you can smell it, about 30 seconds. Turn the heat to high, add the chicken broth, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up all of those caramelized bits. Bring to a simmer, lower to medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pasta, stirring well, and cook until the pasta starts to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in the warm cream and the chicken with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, much of the liquid has been absorbed leaving a creamy sauce, about 4 minutes more.
- Stir in the Parmesan until well incorporated, taste, and adjust the seasonings.
- Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the parsley to garnish. Serve hot and pass extra Parmesan at the table.