I have really come to look forward to the nicknames my kids come up with for meals in our house. Do anyone else’s kids do that? My boys will name dishes based on varying characteristics and it sticks and thats what the dish is called from then on. This particular dish has been renamed “Christmas pasta” for obvious reasons. It is made up of red, green and white ingredients. Then theres the fact that my kids call broccoli “trees” and I guess grated parmesan looks like snow. So with that being said I figured what better time to post a recipe for Christmas Pasta than right now!
This recipe is based off of a pasta dish from one of my favorite restaurants in California. I would order this dish almost every time we were there. I think the first time I ordered it, I was in high school. Once I started cooking I had to figure out how to make it myself. I decided to make a few changes. Theirs did not have a sauce. They simply tossed everything in olive oil which is also delicious but I am a sucker for cheesy sauce on pasta. So I took the fresh ingredients they used and added my own rich and creamy sauce. I think its a winning combination.
**You can make this a vegetarian dish by leaving out the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
1 box of fusilli pasta (rotini would also work)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of broccoli florets
1/2-1 cup of sun dried tomatoes chopped (I love them so I like a lot! but they are potent so use as little or as much as you like)
Salt, Pepper and Italian Seasoning
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions: (If using chicken, make your sauce in the same pan that you cook the chicken in!!! If not then skip straight to making a roux! )
Get the water boiling for your pasta that way its ready by the time you are done prepping everything else. In a smaller pot, boil water to blanche the broccoli. You dont need to cook it too long. Just long enough to become tender but not mushy!!! Just around 8 minutes should be enough. Drain and then place in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Sautee’ your chicken in your cooking oil of choice. I used olive oil for this recipe. I usually use coconut oil but ran out!!! Season with salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning. Make sure not to over cook your chicken since it will continue cooking a bit in the sauce. Cook until just golden brown on the outside and no longer pink on the inside. Then set it aside to rest before cutting it into cubes.
Lower the heat and add butter to that same pan you cooked the chicken in. Let the butter melt, add flour and whisk to make a roux. Let that cook for a minute or so.
Add the chicken (or veggie) broth. Let that simmer until thick.
Whisk until incorporated. Then add the cheese…
Whisk until everything is combined. If you feel like your sauce is too thick at this point you can always add more broth if you have some left over or some milk.
Chop up your sun dried tomatoes and toss them in along with your chicken.
Let that simmer for a few minutes to allow the tomatoes to soften a bit. Then add the broccoli and the pasta.
Top with pepper and more grated parm to add to that “snow” effect!