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
olive oil
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.

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LovesAvocado said…
This sounds great! I love Fine Cooking as well. Every recipe I try from them is great. I will have to bookmark this for the next time I crave pasta. Thanks for sharing. :)
The JR said…
I bet all 3 of your helpings don't equal one of mine.

Looks good.
Oh yum. My mouth is watering. I love this combination of ingredients. Thanks.
xo, Rosemary
Joanne said…
I love being wowed unexpectedly by a recipe. This sounds delicious!
Amy said…
I'm going to try this for tonight's dinner. Your recipes and blog are inspiring!
I love Kalamata olives and this sounds like big girl pasta. Can't wait to make this one and I'm always out of lemons....
lisafaley said…
Do you think white wine would work here in place of the lemon or vinegar? It's calling for wine for me....
Stacey Snacks said…
Hi Lisa,
The recipe needs the acidity (lemon or vinegar) to round it off, so I am going to say no to the wine wine idea, however, I am sure you could add lemon juice AND white wine.......or just drink a glass of wine while you are cooking the dish!!!
I have no business looking at food blogs and food, do you know what overindulged (today) means???
Claudia said…
I do chicken and broccoli. And chicken and broccoli and pasta. And olives and chicken. And olives and chicken and pasta. Do you see where I am going... right into your recipe!
Wendy said…
Thanks for sharing.I will definitely try it out.