Penne w/ Chicken, Broccoli & Chopped Olives
I had high hopes for this dish, since Fine Cooking magazine usually delivers.
This is not your ordinary boring broccoli chicken pasta dish, which is usually bland and tasteless.
Not only was this an easy weeknight dish, but it was healthy, low fat (unless you have a third helping, like me!) and FANTASTIC.
My husband loved it and asked me to make it again.
I was skeptical about rosemary and chopped Kalamata olives with the pasta, but this is what made the dish work.
I had no lemons (how could I run out of lemons?), so I splashed 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar, and I would do that again! Sometimes these things just work out.
Some helpful hints from Heloise (just pretend that's my name):
~ Slice the chicken breasts while still partially frozen, this makes life easier.
~ Have all your ingredients ready ahead of time (mise en place).
~ Cook the broccoli during the last 3 minutes in with the pasta (saves a pot!).
Penne w/ Chicken, Broccoli & Chopped Olives: (adapted from Fine Cooking) serves 6
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
kosher salt & pepper
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 lb. penne
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli florets, cut into 1 1/2" pieces (about 3 cups)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (yum)
1/2 cup of saved pasta water
Start boiling the salted water for the pasta.
In a large, heavy 12" skillet, heat the olive oil to coat the pan on medium heat and add the smashed garlic cloves, the rosemary and hot pepper flakes. Cook only until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Season the chicken pieces liberally with kosher salt & pepper.
Now turn up the heat and add the chicken to the pan, and cook only about 2-3 minutes, until the chicken is cooked thru. Add the chopped olives and splash the lemon juice or vinegar on the chicken. Remove the pan from the heat and keep covered.
I cooked the broccoli in with the pasta, so time it for the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking time. Once the broccoli is bright green (2-3 minutes) and the pasta is done, drain and save 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. Don't forget!
Add the pasta and broccoli to the skillet w/ the reserved pasta water and gradually add the grated cheese. Mix together with a big spoon and serve immediately.