Chicken broccoli ziti is a really easy pasta dish the entire family, neighborhood, world, will love. Creamy cheesy pasta sauce tossed with tender broccoli, thinly sliced chicken, and ziti. It’s a full meal with everything you need. That’s what I love about it. Veggies, protein, carbs all in one bowl.
Aside from boiling the pasta and broccoli, everything can be made in one skillet. Easy cleanup, easy dish, and super creamy and delicious.
The Creamy Sauce
My chicken broccoli is definitely on the creamier side. I use chicken broth, light cream, and parmesan cheese. Some recipes opt for milk, but I think cream makes it that much better. I don’t eat a tremendous amount of pasta, so when I do I go all out. The secret ingredient is actually corn starch, which helps to thicken the sauce to the texture similar to that of a roux.
We use Green Giant’s 12-ounce bags of broccoli a lot because it’s super easy to open the bag and roast in the oven. I recommend that for simplicity but you can of course use unprepared broccoli. A medium head of broccoli is about 1 pound. Remove all the stems and cut into small florets and you’ll most likely end up with about 10-12 ounces. That’s about the amount you’re looking for in this recipe. You can use more or less of course depending on how much of a broccoli lover you are.
Thinly Sliced Chicken
Thinly sliced chicken is so important for pasta dishes! I start with boneless skinless chicken breast and cut into thin strips that are about 1/4 inch thick. I usually slice the larger strips in half so they’re about 1/2-3/4 inches wide and a few inches long. Thin chicken is ultra-tender and eliminates any chewiness. Don’t cut the chicken into chunks or it just won’t jive with the pasta.
There’s nothing worse than chickeny chicken.
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Creamy pasta tossed with tender broccoli and thinly sliced chicken. It’s a full meal with everything you need. That’s what I love about it. Veggies, protein, carbs all in one bowl.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
- 1 bunch (12 ounces) broccoli, cut into florets
- 12 ounces ziti
- 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2–3/4 cup light cream
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3–4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1–2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook al dente. In the last 3 minutes, add broccoli and boil for 2-3 minutes. Strain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large pan or cast-iron skillet. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and fully cook through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken and transfer to a bowl, leaving juices behind. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm.
- Melt remaining butter and add onion and garlic to the skillet. Simmer until onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Do not burn. Add chicken broth, cream, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Simmer/boil for about 7 minutes until slightly reduced. Add parmesan cheese and corn starch and stir/whisk until thickened. Start with 1 tablespoon corn starch and add second if you want thicker.
- Return pasta and broccoli to the skillet and toss in the sauce. Add chicken and continue to toss until everything is well coated and warm.
- Serve with crushed red pepper flakes and additional parmesan cheese!
I highly recommend boiling the broccoli as the recipe suggests to ensure it’s not too tough. Do not overcook or it will get mushy. You can use white wine in addition to chicken broth if you have a limited amount.
- Serving Size: 1/6
- Calories: 466
- Sugar: 3.7g
- Sodium: 465mg
- Fat: 15.8g
- Saturated Fat: 7.2g
- Carbohydrates: 47.9g
- Fiber: 3.7g
- Protein: 34.8g
- Cholesterol: 95mg
Keywords: Chicken broccoli ziti, chicken broccoli and ziti