I love Ina Garten and am often inspired by her recipes. I was watching Food Network the other day, as I often do, and an episode of Barefoot Contessa came on. Ina was making all kinds of delicious things, including tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons, which I quickly added to my “to make” list. She also made lemon chicken with broccoli and bow ties which was the inspiration behind this recipe. Tonight I needed to make a quick, satisfying dinner and her recipe came to mind. Only, I didn’t have time to marinate the chicken and I don’t have an outdoor grill. Even if I did, it’s way too cold to be outside. So, I came up with this quick version and called it lemon chicken pasta with broccoli. It combines many of the same flavors and ingredients but it cuts out a lot of the steps in Ina’s original recipe. I’d venture to say that it’s probably just as good as Ina’s, although, I can’t say for sure, because I’ve never tried hers.
Lemon chicken pasta with broccoli
2 chicken breasts, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lb. of penne pasta
4 cups broccoli florets
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth/stock
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Sprinkle the chicken breast halves with salt and pepper.
3. When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the penne pasta. Cook according to package directions, until al dente. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets and let cook for 3 minutes in the boiling water. Drain the pasta and broccoli, transfer to a large bowl and set to the side.
5. After 4-5 minutes on each side, remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate and let it rest while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
6. Add the other 1/4 cup of olive oil to the skillet you cooked the chicken in and turn the heat down to medium-low.
7. Add the minced garlic, lemon zest and red pepper flakes to the oil and stir for 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice and chicken broth and let it simmer in the pan for 8-10 minutes.
8. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add it to the lemon sauce. Pour the sauce and the chicken over the pasta and broccoli.
9. Add the parmesan cheese and toss everything together to combine.
10. Serve in bowls with extra parmesan and red pepper flakes if desired.