Chicken and Broccoli with
Whole Wheat Pasta

February 19, 2009

Have you had enough chocolate yet? Well there’s more to come from me this month, but for now I’ll give your sweet tooth a break and share a recipe for a light entrée you can try just in case you had too many desserts this past weekend or have been eating heavy meals a little too much during the past several weeks. I’ve had a few recent requests for a “low-cal” dish, so here’s my response (also, check out the Light & Tasty category in the right sidebar for additional recipes).

This chicken and broccoli entrée serves as a light meal on its own and no other side dishes are really needed. The extra-virgin olive oil and butter (yes, butter … a little won’t hurt you) give it flavor along with the minced garlic and red pepper flakes; however, if you have kids or finicky folks in the house, it might not go over too well –- so try it out and see. If they boycott the dinner table, you can always make (or buy I suppose) an Alfredo sauce to go over it, but then again, it wouldn’t be “low-cal.”

This dish definitely makes a good and fairly quick lunch as well as a light dinner. I still think I need to fine-tune the cooking times and measurements of this recipe a little more, so I plan to try it a few more times and update the recipe below. However, what I’ve written here will work for you and is basically the process I followed when I first developed the recipe. Enjoy!

Chicken and Broccoli with Whole Wheat Pasta

2 cups whole wheat fusilli pasta (corkscrew)
1 red bell pepper cut into thin 2” long strips
1 bunch broccoli (about 4 stalks), use florets only
1-1/2 pound of chicken breast cutlets cut into 1” pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter (you can substitute with an additional 3T olive oil)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water (use 1 teaspoon salt) to a boil. Bring another large pot of salted water (2 teaspoons) to a boil. As water is coming to a boil, fill a large bowl (big enough to hold the broccoli florets) with water and ice to create an ice bath.

Add rinsed broccoli florets to first pot of boiling water and let water come back to a boil and continue to cook until broccoli turns bright green (about 3 – 4 minutes). Quickly drain the broccoli and then add the florets to the ice bath for 1 – 2 minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain broccoli from ice bath and set aside. Note: Don’t allow broccoli to sit in the ice bath until you’re ready to use it. It can dilute the flavor of the broccoli.

Add pasta to second pot of boiling water and boil for 6 – 8 minutes. Test a piece of pasta for doneness. Drain and set aside.

In a large sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add garlic and dried red pepper flakes and sauté (stirring) for 1 minute. Add chicken pieces and cook on one side for 3 minutes, turn pieces over and cook for an additional 4 – 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add bell pepper strips, pasta, and broccoli. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over everything in the pan, and add cut up pieces of the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter throughout the pan. Sauté everything together for another 7 minutes. Add cheese and gently toss with the pasta, broccoli, chicken, and bell pepper.  Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional grated parmesan if desired.

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Filed Under Chicken/Poultry, Grains, Rice & Pasta, Light & Tasty, Quick & Easy, Vegetables | 8 Comments Print This Post

Comments

8 Responses to “Chicken and Broccoli with
Whole Wheat Pasta”

  1. Terry C on February 24th, 2009 2:26 pm

    Tesia,

    I plan to try your chicken and broccoli with whole wheat pasta recipe. It sounds really good. In the past I’ve actually tried variations of this recipe, but never included the red bell pepper and red pepper flakes. Can you tell me why you decided to add red bell peppers to this dish?

  2. tplove on February 24th, 2009 5:31 pm

    Hi Terry. No particular reason. I just like red bell peppers, and I like to have a variety of color to my food, so I thought I’d add them. You could also try other bell peppers or even carrots. After cooking the chicken, I would sauté the carrots for a few minutes before adding the broccoli, pasta and other ingredients. I hope you like it!

  3. Chris Jones on February 28th, 2009 10:42 pm

    Tesia, this sounds and looks absolutely delicious! I’m sure I can make this one.

  4. Tesia on March 6th, 2009 12:13 pm

    I just found out that red bell peppers have almost four times as much vitamin C as oranges – another great reason to throw in the sliced peppers with this dish.

  5. samantha on July 14th, 2009 6:02 pm

    Do you have the nutritional value for this?

  6. Tesia on July 15th, 2009 7:46 am

    Hi Samantha,

    No, I haven’t calculated the exact nutritional value on this recipe at this time.

  7. Tasha W on August 31st, 2009 5:51 pm

    Just wanted you to know that I just finished making this and it was excellent! I will def. be coming back to your site for more dinner inspiration! Thanks and keep the good stuff coming!

  8. Tesia on September 1st, 2009 12:15 pm

    Great Tasha! Thanks for letting me know!