16 February 2009

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo (Fettuccine al burro e panna in Italy, although that is generally made without the cheese) is a relatively heavy dish, consisting of pasta tossed with butter, cream and cheese. It's apparently pretty unusual outside of the US, as I don't think I've ever had it in Europe but I've had very similar courses - unsurprising since butter and cream is pretty common in all Western cooking.

Today's recipe is an Alfredo from scratch, with chicken and broccoli. I opted for farfalle pasta instead of the more classic fettuccine. I like the way the farfalle looks and feels when you eat it, and it works well with the bite-sized chicken and broccoli.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

2 1/2 cups farfalle pasta
1 large head of broccoli
3 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
2 cups heavy cream
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
white pepper
kosher salt
olive oil

Turn your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut the stem off the broccoli and discard. Place the broccoli florets in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a couple of pinches of kosher salt. Toss to coat. Transfer the broccoli to a roasting pan. Once the oven is hot, roast the broccoli for 10 minutes - we're looking for it to be cooked but still have resistance.

Slice the chicken into strips, about half an inch wide. Fry the strips in a frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once cooked through and beginning to brown, remove the chicken from the heat and set aside.

Bring water in a large pot to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. As soon as the water is boiling, cook one package of farfalle. Once cooked al dente, drain and leave until the sauce is ready.

Finely mince the garlic. In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the garlic. Let cook for about a half minute, making sure the garlic does not brown at all. Add the cream and cook, stirring, for about three minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir frequently until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the mozzarella cheese, a couple of pinches of salt and about 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper (taste!), and cook another 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Add the chicken and broccoli and let cook until reheated (another minute should do the trick). Add the pasta and serve immediately.

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