Recipe: Chicken and Broccoli Pasta in a Brown Butter Cream Sauce

So, despite the lack of recipe posts lately, I have, in fact, been cooking—I’ve just been making a lot of repeat meals (stir fry, pasta dishes, etc.) that have already shown up on the blog. The other night, we decided that the lovely warm weather warranted dining out on the back porch and I wanted to make something new; something that would be light yet flavorful, and work well with the nice weather. This creamy pasta dish does it all, combining seasoned chicken, fresh broccoli, tender pasta, and a delicious brown butter sauce swirled with heavy cream. The sauce is rich and creamy, but incredibly light and it blends perfectly with the other ingredients in the dish.

Serves: 4
Prep. time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. penne pasta, or other small pasta (ziti, farfalle, gemelli, etc.)
  • 1 whole head/bunch broccoli (approx. 2-4 cups), cut into florets
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika to season the chicken (about 1 tsp. of each)
  • Olive oil, enough to lightly coat the bottom of a large pan
  • 1-2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • Basil, chiffonade, if desired
  • Italian cheese (Parmesan or Romano), if desired


Directions
Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add the seasoned chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink in the middle, then remove the chicken and set it aside on a plate or in a dish (be sure to cover it to keep the heat in). Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the pasta and cook according to package instructions (about 10-13 minutes). When you have 4-5 minutes left, add the broccoli to the pot and cook it along with the pasta. While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, heat a little olive oil over medium heat in the same pan used for the chicken, then add the onion and cook until slightly soft and lightly browned (about 5-10 minutes). Add the garlic and 1 tbsp. unsalted butter and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant. Add the white wine and the cooked chicken to the pan and cook until the wine has reduced a little bit (about 5 minutes). When the pasta and broccoli are done, drain and return to the pot, then add the chicken mixture in and cover the pot. In a small pot, heat the remaining 6 tbsp. unsalted butter over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it’s melted and starts to brown lightly (there will be some specks of brown in the bottom—this is normal) and smells fragrant and nutty. Immediately remove from heat (if you cook it too long, it will burn and taste terrible). Slowly whisk the heavy cream into the melted butter until completely incorporated. Pour the brown butter cream sauce over the pasta mixture and toss to combine.. Serve with grated Italian cheese and basil.

This dish is light, creamy, and buttery—perfect for a warm summer night. Fresh broccoli adds color and freshness to this dish and lightly seasoned chicken pairs perfectly with the sauce and pasta. The brown butter cream sauce has a nutty, buttery flavor that’s absolutely delicious—you may just want to start putting it on everything you eat. 

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