Chicken, Broccoli & Ziti

This is my favorite dish at an Italian restaurant, but I’ve never found a good recipe until this one (from Cook’s Illustrated’s 30-Minute Meals).

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into think strips
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1 Tablespoon water
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • ½ lb. ziti
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just beginning to brown.  Add the chicken, spread into a single layer, and cook without stirring for 1 minute.  Stir chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, of pink color has disappeared and chicken is lightly browned around the edges, about 2 minutes longer.  Transfer chicken to a clan bowl and set aside.
  3. Add 1 more Tablespoon of butter to the skillet and melt over medium-high heat.  Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the broth and dissolved cornstarch mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat, cover and set aside.
  4. Add broccoli and 1 Tablespoon salt to the boiling water and cook until broccoli is tender but still crisp at the center, about 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to large paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  5. Return water to a boil, stir in pasta and cook, stirring often, until al dente.  Reserve ½ cup cooking water then drain pasta and return to the pot.
  6. Stir remaining 2 Tablespoons butter, Parmesan cheese and chicken with any accumulated juices into the sauce in the skillet.  Return sauce to simmer and cook until cooked through, about 1 minute.  Stir sauce mixture and broccoli into pasta.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding reserved pasta cooking water as needed to loosen sauce.  Serve immediately, passing extra Parmesan cheese.

Prep time:                   10 minutes

Cook time:                  20 minutes

Servings:                      4

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