So you can imagine my surprise when I asked Dakota what she wanted for her birthday dinner and her reply was "I don't know, something with broccoli in it". WOW you mean I actually get to cook something? Her only other request was no mushrooms. OK, I can work with that. So I set my mind to work thinking of what she might enjoy. I though about making my Chicken Divan but was afraid it wouldn't be enough for everyone. Then I remembered she liked Italian food. Hhhmmm something with pasta. I already had chicken and broccoli on the brain so it seemed a logical choice to add my garlic Alfredo sauce to it and put it over some fettuccine. The original Alfredo recipe I came up with included mushrooms so of course I omitted those. I also doubled the sauce recipe because I was making a whole pound of pasta and the last time I made it I used it as a sauce to just cover my Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups.
I was a bit nervous because I rarely get to cook for her. She doesn't live with us, so pretty much the only time I get to cook for her is at the holidays. I really wanted her meal to be something special and memorable. I guess I was silly to worry because she, along with the rest of us, loved this dish! I would suggest a small side salad to go along with it but that wasn't on the requested menu plan so we had some garlic bread on the side.
This recipe is super simple and full of flavor. I hope you will give it a try. Maybe for a special family meal?
Chicken and Broccoli with Garlic Alfredo
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 for the sauce
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 large heads of broccoli, cut into florets
10 cloves of garlic, minced
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
4 cups heavy cream
Fresh ground nutmeg, to taste
1 pound fettuccine noodles
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
In a large pot heat water to boil, add salt and the pasta and cook per package directions. Drain pasta and reserve in pot.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Season chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet cooking for about 14 minutes (7 minutes per side). Remove the chicken breasts and set them aside to rest. Once cool slice the chicken breasts in thin slices.
Add the last tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet you cooked the chicken in and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the butter and once it melts add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, broccoli, and nutmeg. Stir to combine and pepper to taste. Simmer until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken to the sauce and cook just long enough to heat the chicken through. Remove from heat and pour the sauce over the pasta. Stir to combine.
Serve topped with chopped parsley and extra Parmesan cheese if desired.