Delicious Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce – Italian-inspired recipe. Penne pasta smothered in a flavorful, creamy sauce spiced up with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and crushed red pepper flakes!
Broccoli and creamy sauce always go together as in this chicken broccoli alfredo pasta and this fettuccine alfredo with chicken, broccoli and bacon, especially if you add sun-dried tomatoes and basil!
What is half and half
To make 1 cup of half and half, combine 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
How to make creamy chicken and broccoli pasta
First, drain and reserve all olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar. Then, add 2 tablespoons of that reserved oil to the hot skillet and saute first sun-dried tomatoes, then add chicken (generously salted on both sides and sprinkled with paprika):
Add half-and-half and Mozzarella cheese, heat it up to a gentle boil, then immediately reduce to simmer. Cook constantly stirring until cheese melts, adding basil and crushed red pepper flakes along the way:
In the mean time, cook both pasta and broccoli florets in a single pan (or steam broccoli separately, if you prefer), chop the broccoli into smaller pieces, and add both pasta and broccoli to the creamy sauce. Stir everything in. Remove pasta from heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes before serving.
Penne pasta smothered in a flavorful, creamy sauce spiced up with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and crushed red pepper flakes! Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce - Make this Italian-inspired pasta dish at home.
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1 lb chicken breasts , sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded
- 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free, use gluten free brown rice pasta)
- 1/2 pound broccoli florets
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes , at least, use more to taste
- 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water or more
- 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar. Add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) and saute for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Remove sun-dried tomatoes from the pan, leaving the oil, and add sliced chicken breasts (generously salted on both sides and lightly covered in paprika, for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. When pasta is about half done, add the broccoli florets. Continue cooking both pasta and broccoli for about 5 more minutes, until pasta is al dente. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water (to stop cooking).
Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller bits and add them back to the skillet with chicken. Add half and half and cheese to the skillet, too, and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick - don't worry - you'll be adding some cooked pasta water soon. Add cooked pasta and broccoli to the skillet with the creamy sauce, and stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of basil, at least 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.
Add about 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water because the creamy sauce will be too thick (do not add all water at once - you might need less or more of it). This will water down the thickness of the cheese sauce and make it creamier. Immediately, season the pasta with salt, more basil, and more red pepper flakes, to taste, if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.