I grew up with this dish. When my friend’s mom first served it, I was extremely reluctant to eat so much broccoli. However, her kids tucked in enthusiastically. Surely I could trust them – even if they also thought Red Delicious Apples were the bomb*.
They were right. This dinner is loaded with good stuff – vegetables, pasta, chicken (or leftover steak!), and just a touch of butter and Parmesan cheese. This dish is an easy, quick meal fix, and it’s incredibly frugal – you can use one chicken breast to feed 6 people. WIN.
It’s also easy to adapt to food allergies like dairy and gluten (see recipe notes below).
When I asked her for the recipe as an adult, my friend’s mom didn’t give any measurements. It’s more of a basic guideline that she adjusts to accommodate whatever ingredients they have. I encourage you to do the same.
*They are not. Gala, fuji, granny smith, honey crisp, pink lady, and basically every other apple is better.
- 3/4 lb. spaghetti noodles (other kinds of pasta work too!)
- 2 cups broccoli, chopped (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup chicken, cooked and chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 4 tbsp butter (or to taste)
- 4 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated (or to taste)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, boil 8 cups of water.
Sprinkle boiling water with salt and add noodles. Allow water to come to a boil again and cook 10 minutes, until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
While pasta is cooking, steam broccoli (HINT: Sometimes I toss it in with the pasta. This doesn't yield consistent results for the pasta or broccoli... but it's easy and uses less dishes.)
When pasta is done, strain in a colander over the sink. Return pasta to pot, and stir in broccoli, chicken, and the rest of the ingredients, adjusting amounts to taste.
- CHICKEN - This is a perfect way to use the easy Make Ahead Chicken That Goes with Everything. You can also use leftover rotisserie chicken, Thanksgiving turkey, or steak.
- VEGETABLES - Don't feel limited to broccoli. That's my favorite, but I also use other frozen or fresh vegetables, like cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, peas, spinach, grape tomatoes, and peppers.
- SEASONING - I personally prefer this recipe with a couple teaspoons of Simple Greek Seasoning instead of the thyme and basil.
VEGETARIAN - Increase the amount of vegetables and leave out the meat.
GLUTEN-FREE - Replace spaghetti with any kind of gluten-free pasta.
GRAIN-FREE - Replace spaghetti with sautéed zucchini noodles or roasted spaghetti squash (I prefer zucchini).
DAIRY-FREE - Sprinkle generously with Easy Greek Seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil. Optional: add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a vegan, cheesy flavor.