This is one of those recipes you fall back on when you want dinner made fast and with few dishes to wash afterwards.I have made this recipe with Angel Hair pasta too but it comes out the best with Penne Rigate. The hollow pipe shape makes sure the creamy sauce sticks on and the pasta tastes better.I like the broccoli in this pasta and can make it sans the chicken.With the chicken you have a complete meal of protein,carbohydrates and the veggies.
I checked the pasta packet and to my surprise, 1/2 cup of the raw pasta was 200 calories.I was under the impression that 1 cup of raw pasta was a single serving....certainly not in this case.I generally do a metal calorie summation when I cook with calorie rich ingredients like cream and cheese.This recipe was going to have cream and 2 types of cheese-both mozzarella and Parmesan. The Parmesan and cream go into the making of the sauce and the mozzarella to create the sticky texture on the top.
I had to re-evaluate and substitute to get the calorie count into a moderate range for this recipe to be a regular dinner on a regular day.With the modified recipe the calorie count will be about 450 calories per serving and it tastes almost as good as the full on calorie version.
Penne Rigate pasta-2 cups dry
Broccoli florets-4 cups
Whole milk-1 cup
Parmesan cheese-1 cup
Chili flakes-1 teaspoon
Chicken-1 breast piece/1 thigh piece cut into 1-2 inch strips
Garlic-1 clove minced
Crushed pepper-1 teaspoon
Olive oil-2 tablespoons
Boil your pasta according to the cooking instructions on the packet.Mine said 11 mins.I like my broccoli not too mushy.....8 mins for boiling my broccoli is good.So I added the broccoli to the boiling pasta water after 3 mins of adding the pasta.When done strain them and keep aside.
While your pasta and broccoli is bubbling away,season the chicken strips with pepper and salt.Heat the oil and fry the chicken strips..... in about 4-5 mins it will get a nice light golden color.I think mine were done about 6 minutes...it acquired a little more color.Add in the crushed garlic and give it about 30 sec to release it's flavor.My olive oil is garlic flavored so I did not add the garlic. Add the chili flakes and then add in the milk.When the milk heats up stir in the Parmesan cheese.Stir till it turns into a sauce.Add in the pasta and the broccoli and coat with this cheesy sauce.Adjust seasoning and you have dinner ready for 4 in 20 mins.