recipe adapted from melskitchencafe.com
I have been trying to incorporate more veggies into our meals lately as it seems to be the one food group we miss the most. I find it easier to add them to our main dish rather than as a side. This way the flavor of the meal blends the distinct taste most vegetables give and somewhat fools my family into healthier eating. We all love broccoli and it's so easy to add to a number of recipes.
The addition of mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes to this pasta sets it apart from the rest. Delish!
1 bunch broccoli, florets only - cut into 1" pieces
12 oz. penne pasta
2 TBLS. olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
6 medium garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
3 oz. shredded mozzarella
8 oz. jar oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 TBLS. butter, melted
Make the topping first by combining the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl; set aside.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and also set that aside.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large pot, bring water to a boil for the penne. Stir in broccoli. Boil for 1 minute, until the broccoli is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and set aside on plate. Return the water to a boil and add penne. Boil penne until al dente (1-2 minutes less than you normally would as the pasta will cook a little more when you bake it). Drain and toss with 1 TBLS. of the olive oil. Set aside.
Wipe the pot dry, add the remaining TBLS. of olive oil and return to medium heat until oil is shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softening and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and dried thyme, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream, bringing them to a simmer, stirring often. Add the chicken and cook through, about 7 minutes. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella.
Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce, stirring to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the topping you set aside earlier.
Bake about 15 minutes or until the top is bubbling and crumbs are lightly browned.