CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI FETTUCCINE (HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!)

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So here’s the skinny! A regular Alfredo sauce is considered by many to be one of the top ten forbidden foods. (Or at the very least, a dish that should only be consumed once in a blue moon, which for those who don’t remember, is about once every 2½ years!)

Now I am here to tell you, that is just not often enough for yours truly and Mr. C! We love us our pasta Alfredo. So in an effort to keep our desire for Alfredo commensurate with our need to keep our cholesterol at a level that is appropriate for people in their “golden years”, and not coincidentally keep our doctors from jumping up and down and yelling at us, I have modified one of our favorite “Alfredo” style dishes. Now granted, without the cream it’s certainly never ever going to replace the real deal. But, truly, it ain’t half bad! But since I know that some of you are purists, I decided to also provide you with the original recipe that won my grandchildren (Derek and Rebecca) over to the belief that broccoli is the best green vegetable ever invented!

So give my modified version a try. It still has the creamy sauce that is so important to a delicious “Alfredo”. But I have to tell you. When you warm up leftovers, no puddle of butter is left in the bottom of the bowl. (If you happen to be one of the people who has never reheated an Alfredo sauce, please believe me when I tell you that looking in the bowl after the pasta has been reheated is enough to immediately change your thinking on Alfredo Sauce. Does the term “swimming in liquid fat” mean anything to you? Well that’s exactly what your noodles will be doing if you reheat a true Alfredo sauce.)

But like I said, if you are a purist, under the age of 30, have the metabolism of a pigmy shrew, are 6’2’’, and weigh about 102 pounds, please give my original recipe a try. It is really fabulous. Just don’t tell me about it. I might start crying, and no one likes to see tears on their computer screen.

Reduced fat CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI FETTUCCINE:

  • 2 T. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 c. bite sized pieces of fresh broccoli
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cubed
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T. dry white wine
  • 2 T. flour
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • ¾ c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. milk (I use 2%)
  • 8-oz. fettuccine pasta, cooked al dente (keep some of the cooking water*)
  • ¾ c. finely grated Parmesan cheese + more for passing (or use part Parmesan and part Pecorino Romano)

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large fry pan. Add the broccoli and sauté for 2-3 minutes. (Broccoli should still be crisp.) Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove broccoli and garlic from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Add the chicken, salt, and pepper; cook until the chicken is barely cooked through. Remove from pan and add to the reserved broccoli and garlic.

Pour wine into the pan and cook until very little liquid remains. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the flour. Whisk together and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the nutmeg, chicken broth, and milk; stirring until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat and add the cooked pasta, reserved broccoli, garlic, and chicken, and ¾ cup Parmesan. Add some of the pasta cooking water if the sauce seems too thick. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese.

Please note: If doubling this recipe, use only 3 tablespoons of flour, but double all the remaining ingredients. FYI: many of my recipes feed just 2-3 people. Unless otherwise stated, my recipes can easily be doubles or tripled.

* You really don’t need to use seemingly gallons of water when you cook pasta. In fact, you only need to use enough so that the pasta has room to expand and not stick together. This not only saves water and energy, but the resulting cooking water has a higher percentage of residual starch, which makes it perfect for adding to the sauce if more liquid and/or thickening is required. For more information, search Serious Eats; The Food Lab; A new way to cook pasta?

Good old fashioned CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI FETTUCCINE:

  • ¼ c. (½ stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 c. bite sized pieces of fresh broccoli
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cubed
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 8-oz. fettuccine pasta, cooked al dente (keep some of the cooking water)
  • ¾ c. finely grated Parmesan cheese + more for passing (or use part Parmesan and part Pecorino Romano)

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large fry pan. Add the broccoli and sauté for 2-3 minutes. (Broccoli should still be crisp.) Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove broccoli and garlic from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Add the chicken, salt, and pepper; cook until the chicken is barely cooked through. Remove from pan and add to the reserved broccoli and garlic.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoon butter and cook until butter is lightly browned. Add 1/3 cup of the cream and boil rapidly over high heat until large shiny bubbles form; stir occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and add cooked noodles to sauce. Toss vigorously and add the chicken mixture, Parmesan cheese and the remaining cream, in about 3 additions. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

Please let me know if you like this recipe. Thanks