Busy schedules often do not allow for elaborate meals on weeknights. Nevertheless, we all try to make conscious decisions about what to put on the table and how to feed our families with nutritious and satisfying meals.
This easy, weeknight rigatoni with broccoli and chicken checks all the boxes on our mental list of what a wholesome meal should be: a lean protein, vegetables and some starch. Prepping can be done earlier in the day and at dinner time, you will need less than half an hour to cook and assemble this delicious dish!
It is easy to change up each component of this recipe for other ingredients: if not rigatoni, use any other short-shape pasta you have on hand (farfalle is another favorite), or even leftover cooked pasta. Instead of broccoli, you can use sautéed zucchini. Instead of the sun-dried tomatoes, green olives would be a good pairing. Chicken will make the dish more substantial, but if you prefer a vegetarian pasta dish you can certainly leave it out. The leftovers heat up easily and I would recommend making the whole recipe, even if you are cooking for two!
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into ½” strips
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 med. garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 TBSP. fresh thyme
- 2 tsp. flour
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- --- salt for the pot
- 5 cups small broccoli florets cut into 1” pieces (without the stems)
- ½ pound Rigatoni, Ziti or Farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
- ¾ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, thinly sliced
- --- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- Fill a medium pot two-thirds with cold water, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Separately, and in a large, 12” skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken in single layer, and cook for about 2 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Turn the chicken over and continue to cook for two minutes more, or, until it is lightly browned on the other side (the chicken will not be completely cooked at this point). Transfer the chicken to a small bowl and set aside.
- To the same skillet that was used for the chicken, add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and thyme and cook for another minute or so, making sure it does not burn. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the white wine to deglaze the skillet, and once it comes to a simmer add the chicken broth. Bring the mixture again to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook until sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 to12 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, salt the boiling water generously and add the broccoli florets. Cook for only about 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, lift the broccoli out of the pot to bowl and set aside.
- Return the water in the pot to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, drain and reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water (to thin out the sauce if needed). Return the pasta to pot. (the time for cooking al dente will depend on the pasta you use).
- Once the sauce is thickened, add the sun-dried tomatoes and the reserved chicken along with any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Spoon the chicken and sauce mixture over the pasta in the pot, add broccoli and toss gently to combine. If the mixture is too dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano and mix again.
- Serve in warm pasta bowls with some fresh basil and extra Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.
Here are two more Pasta Recipes to try:
Please leave a comment below and let me know what quick pasta dishes you like to cook for an easy weeknight meal!