chicken + broccoli spiral pasta

Broccoli in pasta? Yep.

Broccoli finds its way in to my grocery trolley each and every week. I steam broccoli for dinner, along with its mates – carrot and corn, for the girls nearly every night. My kids love my creamy bacon pasta (however pick out the mushrooms) and their favourite food is chicken, hence this broccoli and chicken creation. A bowl of this creamy, cheesy pasta really hits the spot.

Taking no time at all to make, I cook a big batch of this often and freeze in individual portions to have on hand for a speedy midweek dinner. An old friend of mine Jess Auswild, creator of food blog Whole Start has some great tips for fussy eaters here. I agree with her that my kids will often try something new that has been cooked for them by someone else, hence why taking it in turns to host an early kids dinner is a good way to try and get the kids to eat new things. And importantly, it means that you get to catch up with your friends at the same time.

So why not try this pasta, stop at the shops for the ever important champers and cheese and biccies for the adults and invite your girlfriends, kids in tow, round for a catch up. We do this often in Wagga whereby sausages and spag bol always seem to get a run and it’s always fun (although often pretty hectic) to do ‘witching hour’ all together.

And if you’ve never put broccoli in pasta before, give it a go.

A few green trees never hurt anyone.

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chicken + broccoli spiral pasta (serves 4-6)

2 x chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 x large brown onion, diced
1 x small teaspoon of minced garlic, from a jar
4 x bacon rashers, diced
1 x head of broccoli, cut in to small florets
300ml of thickened cream
A good grating of tasty cheese
A light sprinkling of dried parsley (or finely chopped fresh parsley if you have some)
A light sprinkling of ground nutmeg (if you have it in the spice rack)
A dash of olive oil, for frying the onions
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
400 grams of spiral pasta

  • Pop the pasta on to cook, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water.
  • Meanwhile, in a large fry pan, add a dash of olive oil and sautรฉ the onion, bacon and garlic until cooked.
  • Add the chicken breast to the pan and toss around until cooked through.
  • By this stage, your pasta should be nearly ready. Add the broccoli to the pasta to cook.
  • Add the cream, grated cheese, nutmeg and parsley to the chicken mixture and season well with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Take off the heat.
  • By this stage, your pasta and broccoli should be cooked. Strain in to a colander and stir through the pasta sauce.
  • Serve with some finely grated cheese over the top and (for the adults) loads of freshly cracked pepper.

Lo’s tips

  • Although this is a very simple recipe, you need to take care that you don’t overcook the pasta or broccoli. You don’t want the broccoli to be really mushy, and you certainly do not want soggy pasta.
  • Also, be careful not to overcook the chicken here also. You want the chicken to fry in the pan until it’s just changed from the pink ‘raw’ colour – to white. Add the cream and after stirring through for a minute or two, remove the pan from the heat so that the chicken doesn’t continue to cook. Overcooked chicken like this can become tough.
  • You can replace the broccoli with baby spinach, finely sliced zucchini or frozen peas instead if you like.
  • Penne also works well here.

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If you make this pasta, please comment below. xx

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