My friend Michelle recently brought a big batch of home-grown Broccoli into the office to share with us and I immediately thought of the perfect recipe to make! I always make notations in my cookbooks with the date I made the recipe and whether I liked it or not. I tried this recipe almost two years ago and I wrote in the corner “YUMM!” so I knew it was worth making again! I did make a notation or two on things I would change the next time I made the recipe so I noted them for you, as well. This is an easy recipe because it all comes together in one pot but it makes a lot so be sure to use a LARGE pot!
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
(I used Canola Oil)
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
(I used 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts)
- Salt and pepper to taste
(I used 1 tsp salt/1/2 tsp pepper)
- ½ cup diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chicken broth
(I used a 4 cup carton of chicken stock and 1 cup water for the liquid)
- 3 cups water
- 1 16 ounce bag of pasta shells
- 4 cups broccoli
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
(This was too hot for me so I made a note to use ¼ tsp)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
(I used more than 2 cups!)
- Heat oil on medium in a large pot.
- Add chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper and allow the chicken to brown on one side.
- Flip chicken, then add onions and garlic as the second side browns.
- Once the chicken has browned on both sides, add chicken broth, water and pasta to the pot.
- Stir all ingredients, cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil.
- When it begins to boil, uncover and stir.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, uncover and add the broccoli.
- Stir continually as the broccoli steams until the rest of the liquid evaporates.
- Add milk and cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese melts and you have a smooth cheese sauce.
- Add salt and pepper if needed (to taste), cayenne and nutmeg.
- Stir once more and you’re ready to serve.
- Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top before serving.