Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli in a White Cheddar Wine Sauce

Thursday, August 19, 2010

By the time we sat down to eat this meal, I was so hungry and pissed off that I barely got the chance to really enjoy it. Now that's an endorsement for a recipe, isn't it? I'm sure you're all dying to make it now.

The thing is, I didn't plan ahead. I didn't roast the garlic ahead of time, and that turned out to be a mistake. If you make it beforehand--well, this recipe is a piece of cake. And when we make this again, we'll most certainly be making the roasted garlic paste a day or two in advance.

I'm not a big fan of cheese (or most dairy, really), but I have a love affair with cheddar. I seriously *heart* cheddar. So I thought this dish was going to be heaven on a plate. To my surprise, I couldn't really pick out the cheddar taste; if I didn't know what was in the sauce, I would never have been able to guess cheddar. But the cheese gives this a wonderfully creamy texture and, paired with the roasted garlic and wine, this is a real winner.

For obvious reasons, this recipe reminds me a bit of Spicy Garlic & Lime Chicken Pasta, but it's different enough where they could both be in the regular dinner rotation.

Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli in a White Cheddar Wine Sauce
(Source: Good Things Catered)

- 1 lb. uncooked pasta
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 cup roasted garlic paste (see instructions below*)
- 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 large head of brocolli, cut into florettes (about 2 cups)
- 10-16 oz. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (about 2-3 cups)
- 3 oz. aged reserve cheddar (preferably white), grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
- parmesan cheese (optional)
- salt and ground pepper

*To make garlic paste (HIGHLY recommended to do this in advance): Peel the outer papery skins off two heads of garlic, leaving the heads still intact. Slice about a quarter off the top of each head so that all of the cloves are partly exposed. Wrap the heads in foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the peels and smash with a fork to make roasted garlic paste. (Alternatively, you can toss the cloves into a food processor--I found this to be much easier.)
Roasted garlic instructions from Annie's Eats

1. Bring water to a boil in large pot. When boiling, add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Throw uncooked broccoli florettes into the boiling water 3-4 minutes before pasta is done. Drain pasta and broccoli mixture.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When just coming to foaming, add garlic paste and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).

3. Add flour and cook until beginning to turn golden (about 2 minutes). Add vermouth and cook until evaporated (about 1 minute). Stir broth into pan and simmer sauce until slightly thickened (about 2 minutes).

4. Add cheddar and stir constantly while returning to a boil.

5. Add in cooked chicken pieces. Fold in pasta and broccoli, cook for one more minute, and remove from heat.

6. Plate and top with parmesan; serve.


Catherine August 20, 2010 at 11:07 AM  

If it's any consolation, I actually did plan ahead with this meal, and it honestly didn't help things. I am a HUGE mac and cheese fan, and an even bigger fan of garlic, so thought this was a perfect recipe for me. It took me forever and a day to make and it was just not worth it at all to me.

My future plan because I do think the combo sounds good: Make a regular cheddar mac and cheese rue, add the garlic paste to it and that's it!

Krystie August 20, 2010 at 1:33 PM  

I tried this meal months ago, and had the same problem. It was sorta of bland for us, and tasted more like wine/butter sauce.

Not the worst meal I've ever eaten, but certainly not the best.

Heather August 24, 2010 at 9:40 PM  

Thanks, girls. You made me feel a little better knowing I wasn't the only one who thought this recipe was a bit of a pain in the ass!

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