One of the best ways to use up a quart of heavy cream that you bought from Costco is to make easy alfredo sauce. You can make it plain and standard with freshly cooked fettucine noodles or play around with the types of pasta and the flavors. Aside from the traditional fettucine, I’ve poured the sauce over lobster ravioli from Costco, pepped it up with garlic and red chili flakes and stirred in some burst tomatoes.
I decided to go with a chicken and broccoli version this go-round for a few reasons. 1. I had boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the freezer I needed to use and a 3-pound bag of broccoli florets I purchased from Costco. 2. I had a 3-pound bag of broccoli florets I purchased from broccoli which is odd because I don’t really love broccoli. I thought if I paired broccoli with an ultra fattening creamy alfredo sauce, I might be more inclined to like the broccoli. (I was right!)
This is the only chicken and broccoli alfredo recipe you will ever need. It uses my favorite technique for making alfredo sauce, which also happens to be the easiest technique IMO, taking about 30 minutes to put everything together–especially if you buy broccoli already cut into florets. This dish does require a balancing act of making sauce, pasta, chicken, and broccoli, in separate dishes, sorta simultaneously.
I’m not big on making fattening dishes lighter or healthier, but for those out there who do, I like to think this recipe adds the littlest bit of health to the meal by way of bright green steamed broccoli and protein-filled bites of chicken. I highly recommend cutting the broccoli into small floret bites as well as cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces versus larger pieces of both. It’s just easier to fit in your mouth that way and you can actually fit broccoli, chicken and creamy pasta on the same fork in one bite.
This recipe makes a ginormous amount of pasta. To reheat leftovers, heat a skillet over low heat and add a serving or two of the cold pasta to the pan. Once the pasta has started to warm a bit add a bit more heavy cream. Stir and heat and add additional heavy cream until the pasta is creamy and has warmed to your desired temperature.
- 16 oz long pasta such as spaghetti, fettucine or linguine
- 2 c. grated parmesan cheese
- ½ c. butter
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1 T. red chili flakes
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 2 c. broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 16 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast or though, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ T. Safflower seed or avocado oil
- In a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chicken, garlic and red chili flakes and cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Once cooked through, remove from pan and set aside. Try to ensure you remove as much oil from the chicken if you can if your pan has leftover oil.
- Get steaming equipment ready to steam the broccoli.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente noodles.
- While pasta and chicken are cooking, heat the butter in a small pot over medium or medium-low heat. Add the garlic and red chili pepper flakes and let cook a bit in the sizzling butter – do not allow to burn. Add the heavy cream and heat until hot but not boiling.
- When pasta is close to being done, steam broccoli until desired doneness. I steamed mine for 3 minutes and then ran the broccoli under some cold water. The broccoli was cooked perfectly; still firm, not mushy.
- In a large serving bowl or plate, place half of the grated parmesan cheese. Pour the hot cream/butter mixture over the cheese and allow to sit for a few minutes.
- Drain the pasta if you haven’t already; reserve some of the pasta water. Immediately pour the freshly drained pasta onto the butter/cheese/cream mixture. Toss to combine. Add the remaining parmesan cheese and toss. If the mixture is too thick or clumpy, add some pasta water to thin it out and get it extra creamy.
- Add the chicken and broccoli and gently mix to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, if desired.
- Serve with additional parmesan cheese.