1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
3/4 lb mostly cooked ziti
3 tbls butter
3 tbls flour
1 1/2 cups warm milk or cream
2-4 tbls Parmesan or Romano cheese
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
salt and pepper
Put the butter and garlic in a cold sauce pan. Turn on heat to medium-low. Melt butter and cook garlic for a minute. Add the flour and stir constantly for 4-5 minutes. Slowly add the milk or cream, stirring constantly. Add onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a couple minutes, till thick. Set aside. Saute chicken in a couple tbls of olive oil and basil till almost cooked. Add broccoli and cook till it is a little bit shy of how you want it. Add the sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Add the pasta and stir it around while it finishes cooking. Serve.
So I cheated a little with this post. For one the hardest part, the white sauce, has already been covered in a previous installment. For another the recipe above is changed a bit from what I actually have pictures of. As me and my girlfriend were eating it we decided it was missing something (other than nutmeg! Crap, Gina, I'm a bad blog-guy! :( I keep forgetting.) and I'm pretty sure it was cheese in the sauce. I sprinkled some on top at the end, but it's just not the same. If anyone has any other ideas or tries it, still finds it lacking and fixes it please let me know. I love chicken, ziti and broccoli but this is the first time I have made it and while it was good, it wasn't as good as it could be. Using fresh onion in the sauce would certainly be better, but it was getting late when I was making it and I cut some corners. But anyway, here we go.
So I'm going to gloss over the sauce for the most part since I have a detailed post about it already. The two points I am going to make are one: adding the garlic. Start with a cold pan, put in the butter and the garlic. Bring it to medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted and hot add the flour. Doing it like this cooks the garlic but doesn't brown it, the butter or the flour. Point number two is I used heavy cream. My, but that makes a difference in the richness of the sauce. Of course I probably put on 10 pounds from just dinner, but whatever. If you are worried about calories go ahead and use milk. Or eat it with your eyes closed since everyone knows if you can't see it it doesn't count. That's the way it works right? I'll just pretend you said yes. When you add the milk also add the onion powder and cheese. Once the sauce is done set it aside. If you are concerned about it getting a skin you can put some wax paper right on top of it or float just enough milk to cover it and it won't. Now you want to saute up your chicken in some olive oil and with the basil. You can add other spices too, oregano would be good, so would tarragon or rosemary or some sage. You should cook it in batches (unless your pan is huge) so it browns. I didn't bother, again because it was late and we were hungry. Once it's pretty much cooked (it will cook more, don't worry) add the broccoli. Cook it till it is almost as done as you want it. I cooked it for less than a minute since I like my broccoli crunchy. Now add the sauce in and stir it around. Let it simmer for a little bit, maybe a minute, just to let the flavors mingle. Now add the pasta and mix it well. Let it simmer for a couple minutes, stirring frequently. Once everything has finished cooking it's done. Eat it.