For some, cooking is simply about getting food on the table and the faster the better. For many it’s a consuming passion without regard to a time element. And there’s the huge swath of people who fall somewhere in between. That’s where I put myself.
But for me and for most of you who follow my blog, it’s more than that. We take the time, to cook dinner because we can. But also out of love for our family and friends.
Valentines Day falls on a weeknight this year, which means that even as we take note of this affection inspired day, for many we’ll be cooking dinner just like it’s any other day of the week.
So here I am with my daughter’s most recent recipe inspiration. Prepared with love by Rachel who made it for her a few months ago when she visited her at her Oregon farm. Rachel was Andrea’s nanny when she was just a baby. And now Andrea is the Godmother to one of Rachel’s darling baby girls.
The simplest recipes rely on the few ingredients in them to carry the flavor. So choose your ingredients wisely – organic, free range chicken breast, fresh broccoli with firm floweret’s, high quality pesto, cream and fresh fettuccine noodles. And definitely Parmesan Reggiano. What I love most about this recipe is the pesto does not dominate like it tends to do when it’s an ingredient in pasta dishes. I gave a range on both the chicken and pesto so you can make it to your exact loving. And I used chicken broth along with the cream for the sauce to make it less caloric.
I had a text from Andrea last Friday night when she was in Southern California asking for the ingredients and amounts that we used when we recreated Rachel’s pasta for the first time at home. She wanted to make it for her boyfriend and his Dad after a baseball game that had finished late in the evening.
And now I am sharing it with you because it’s easy and loveable. Rachel I hope we’ve done it justice.
- 1 large head broccoli cut into bite size flowers (about 4 cups)
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 8-12 ounces chicken breast, sliced into bite size pieces
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ⅔ cup whipping cream (see note)
- ⅓-1/2 cup pesto
- 10-ounce package fresh fettuccine or linguine noodles (see note)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Fill a medium size saucepan three-fourths full with water; add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil; add broccoli and cook just until slightly softened but still crisp, about 3 minutes; drain and set aside.
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat and when it sizzles and is just turning brown, add the chicken; season with salt and pepper and cook without stirring until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Stir chicken and cook just until cooked through about 3-4 minutes longer. Add chicken broth, stirring and scraping browned bits on bottom of the pan; bring to simmer and stir in cream and pesto. Simmer on low heat about 1 minute; add broccoli and simmer just to heat through, about 1 minute then remove from heat.
- Cook fettuccine in boiling, salted water according to package directions; drain.
- Add hot pasta to chicken and broccoli and toss gently to evenly distribute ingredients; season with salt and pepper. Add Parmesan cheese and toss again.
Eight ounces dry fettuccine noodles can be substituted for the fresh pasta. Follow package directions for cooking instructions.