Treat yourself to the comforting flavors of Chicken Broccoli Pasta. An Italian-inspired dish that combines tender broccoli, al dente spaghetti, and succulent chicken chunks in a creamy, garlic-infused sauce with just a hint of crushed red pepper. Sprinkle on some fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese for the finishing touch, and dinner is served.
This easy, 30 minute recipe brings together vibrant colors and flavors for a satisfying meal that's suitable for any occasion. Whether it's a laid-back weeknight dinner, a date night, or a dinner party with friends, this dish will not disappoint.
Ingredients You Need to Make Chicken Broccoli Pasta
- Broccoli: Look for fresh, deep green broccoli with tightly closed florets. Avoid broccoli that appears yellow or has wilted leaves.
- Spaghetti (or other long, slender pasta): Any long pasta will do, such as spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine or angel hair pasta.
- Olive Oil: Select a good-quality extra virgin olive oil for a rich and robust flavor in the dish.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves and mince them for maximum flavor.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Adjust the amount to your preferred level of spiciness.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: Look for fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts without discoloration. You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter works here as you'll add salt to taste.
- Fresh Parsley: Opt for fresh, flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley) with vibrant green leaves and no signs of wilting.
- Parmesan Cheese: Ideally either freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano.
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Fresh or Frozen Broccoli: For the best texture and flavor, use fresh broccoli. That said, frozen broccoli works in a pinch, just be sure to thaw and drain it before adding to the dish.
- Versatile Protein Options: Feel free to substitute the chicken with leftover rotisserie chicken or other proteins like cooked shrimp, tofu, or roasted vegetables if that's what you prefer or have on hand.
- Adjust Spiciness: Tailor the dish to your spice preference by adjusting the amount of crushed red pepper flakes. Start with a small amount and add more gradually to find your desired level of spiciness.
- Add Decadence: For a creamy sauce, add ¼ cup or more of heavy cream in step 3 of the recipe (be sure to adjust the seasoning as well).
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (along with some of the pasta cooking water in the same container or a separate airtight container). When reheating, add the leftover pasta cooking water or chicken broth a little at a time to add moisture to the dish. Adjust seasoning and, ideally, serve topped with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
More Fantastic Ways to Enjoy Chicken
- Italian Chicken Cutlets (Quick and easy!)
- Chicken Carnitas (Easy slow cooker recipe!)
- Chicken Kabobs in the Oven
- Or for a vegetarian version of this recipe, Broccoli Pasta.
Looking For Pasta Inspiration? Check Out My 45+ Best Pasta Recipes
How to Make Chicken Broccoli Pasta
Cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling, salted water until crisp-tender; remove with slotted spoon. Bring same water to boil and cook spaghetti until al dente; drain, saving 1 cup water.
While the pasta cooks, cook garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant in hot olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook until nearly cooked through. Add broccoli and butter and cook until chicken is done. Remove from heat.
Add drained pasta to the skillet. Stir to combine, adding pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with grated parmesan and parsley (optional); serve.
Chicken Broccoli Pasta
- 1 pound broccoli cut into small florets
- 10 ounces spaghetti or other long, slender pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or more
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
- 3 tablespoons butter
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese freshly grated, optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli florets and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes (take care to not overcook). With a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a colander to drain.
- Return water to boil and add spaghetti; cook according to package directions until firm to the bite (al dente). Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes; cook and stir 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until chicken is nearly done, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broccoli and butter to skillet; gently cook and stir until butter melts, broccoli is hot and chicken is just cooked through. Remove from heat.
- Once you've drained the pasta, set skillet with chicken and broccoli mixture over medium heat. Add pasta; cook and stir to combine, adding pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, if needed to loosen the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to serving bowl or platter. Sprinkle evenly with grated parmesan cheese and parsley (if using) and serve.
- Use any long, slender pasta you like for this recipe.