This meal of simple comfort food takes hardly any time to prepare and requires very few ingredients. We love the cellentani/cavatappi noodles in this dish. They hold their shape well and cling to the delicious homemade sauce. The sauce combines a few techniques you probably learned in 8th Grade home economics. It is a basic béchamel with an addition of garlic and parmesan. Follow along and I’ll teach you how to make your own delicious meal in under 20 minutes! *Full recipe at the end of this post.
Assemble the ingredients you’ll need: 2 chicken breasts, 1 medium crown of broccoli, 1 box of Cellentani pasta, seasoned salt, salt, pepper, butter, garlic, flour, milk and parmesan cheese. (This is the order you’ll use them in too!)
In a stock pot or other large skillet, cook chicken over medium heat. Season while cooking with 1/2 tsp of seasoned salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook half way, then add broccoli florets (tops) in pieces, along with 1/3 C water. Turn heat up a smidge. Water will steam broccoli and continue to cook chicken. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of HOT water to a boil (speed up your boiling water process by starting with very hot tap water.) Add 1 TBSP salt to pasta water, then add pasta and cook to al-dente according to package directions, or typically 1-2 minutes less than the time stated. Drain pasta, place in bowl, set aside. Once chicken and broccoli mixture is cooked through and water has evaporated, toss in bowl with pasta. Cover.
Now, take 1/4 C butter and two minced garlic cloves and place them in the large pot you just took the chicken and broccoli out of. (Sorta clean that out b.t.w.) Stir around until garlic is fragrant and butter is melted. Do this over medium to medium low heat. Don’t burn the butter or garlic, it will ROUX-in the whole sauce.
Did you get that? Yes, the ‘roux’ is the next part here. You add thickener (flour) to the fat (butter) and stir around to cook the raw flour taste out. This helps the sauce thicken at the end. If you were making gumbo or something like that, you’d cook this roux until it was caramel or brown in color, deepening the flavors. This is a white sauce folks… low and slow, keep the butter from browning too much!
Whisk the roux until it bubbles.
Now stir in 2 C of milk. Any kind of milk will do, 2% is what I’m using here. No need for cream or half and half… this sauce is rich enough as it is! (See my little Pig-Butter Dish in the background? Isn’t she sweet? Reminds me of a gilt we have over at my in-laws who is due to pig any moment. Her name you ask? Take a guess… yep! “Sugar Cookie” or just “Sugar” for short.)
After the milk is added, you may have to bump the heat up a tad. (like 1.0 on an electric digital burner or just a click or two on a gas.) Bring the mixture to a boil and let it thicken, this should take 2 minutes or so. Don’t over do it, we want a smooth sauce, not an overly thick one. Don’t fret though, if your sauce gets too thick… add more milk later! Add 3/4 C grated parmesan (freshly grated or the stuff in a plastic can works, this isn’t a wedding okay?) Stir until smooth.
Add warm chicken/broccoli/pasta mixture to the sauce. Stir gently until well coated. Season with salt and pepper as desired. I also like a little seasoned salt in here too!
Serve warm, immediately. If you need to re-heat… simply add a little milk, warm in microwave and stir!
Here’s my kitchen staff wearing Grandma’s prescription sunglasses while buttering some buns we but garlic salt on and toasted lightly in the oven. Mixed fruit was also on the menu with tall glasses of milk!
After the meal we indulged in some evening chores… and checked on “Sugar Cookie” aka: “Sugar”. Here you can see OINK in the background giving my husband a hard time. He showered her with the hydrant for quite a while, she loved it. He also scratches her back and she really loves him for it. She’s a big pony, somewhat. What can I say, we love pigs!
Sometimes she likes a bit of feed out on the concrete… by request. She begs. “Cookie Dough” and “Sassy” beg for cake mix… OINK likes her feed on the cement… go figure. She’s really “crankin” on her litter of pigs. Crankin’: nursing her babies and taking great care of them.
These little muffins were just hanging out today.
I had ‘piggy-craft’ day with my son today. We made “Stained Glass Pigs” and he loved it. I’ll be posting the instructions for that little DIY craft later this week.
After we (my son and I) did chores this handsome fella took me to lunch. I got to eat the leftover halves of his chicken nuggets. True love. He loves to flex in his muscle shirts.
I was able to keep the 3 girls who have/are going to pig, cool today in this little farrowing area we made up in the barn. I can rig anything with leftover twine and feed sack string!
Fun stops here folks… I SAW A MOUSE! YES. I hate them. Truly. Hate. Them. Bye Bye Pigs, Goodnight everyone, I saw a God-forsaken MOUSE! The hatred for furry small scurrying critters is a genetic inheritance on my maternal side. (Insert winking smiley face.) Do you hate mice? I’ll kill a spider… but run 50 miles to get away from a mouse! Jury is out on the snake thing… ew.
*The photos of pigs in this post are of our show pig project. We name these pigs, they are very close to our family and we choose to spend our extra time with them vs. spending time at the lake, going on vacations etc. We love pigs. We also custom finish (13 pounds to 280+ pounds) hogs in a more modern, larger scale facility with different styles of barns with much more efficiency and safety from elements and predators. This is our livelihood and puts bread on the table for us. If you have questions about those barns or our hobby project, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a picture from our more modern facility. My daughter is a pig whisperer. I wish I had as much pig sense as she does.
Ahhh, yes, the recipe I promised you!
Homemade Chicken Alfredo
By: Cristen www.foodandswine.com
For Chicken Broccoli and Pasta:
2 tsp olive oil
2 chicken breast halves, or turkey breast halves, sliced against grain of meat.
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 medium crown of broccoli, florets cut off
1/3 C water
1 box of Cellentani pasta, cooked to al dente, drained
Heat olive oil over medium heat, in a skillet or large pot, add chicken, sprinkle on seasoned salt and pepper. Cook halfway. Add broccoli and water. Cook until water is evaporated, chicken is cooked throughout and broccoli is tender. Remove from pan to a bowl, combine with cooked pasta. Set aside, covered.
To make Sauce:
1/4 C butter (4 TBSP)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
scant 1/4 C flour (meaning, don’t load up here, just a little shy of 1/4 C)
2 C milk (I used 2%)
1 C grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste (seasoned salt is my favorite salt-sub here, and I do use Lawry’s and NO they don’t sponsor any of my posts.)
In a large stock pot over medium to medium low heat, combine butter and garlic. Cook until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant and translucent. Add flour, whisking well. Cook for 1 minute until bubbly. Add milk, whisk constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Add parmesan cheese, stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble: Pour chicken/broccoli/pasta to sauce in stock pot. Stir well. Add milk if mixture appears too thick. Serve warm. Makes 6-8 servings.
4 quality buns/rolls
1/4 C butter
garlic salt or seasoned salt
Spread butter on rolls, sprinkle with garlic salt or seasoned salt. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-16 minutes or until lightly toasted. Serve immediately.
Roux is the best:) I love your photos. Your pigs and kids are so adorable. We haven’t eaten alfredo for a while. I like the idea of adding broccoli. We have used that cheese powder a number of times, though.