Friday, July 30, 2010

Pasta with Roasted Garlic, Chicken, and Brocolli with a White Cheddar & Wine Sauce

Okay, I admit it - 99% of the time, when a recipe calls for garlic of any sort, I will be using my giant jar of minced garlic.  I just like how the garlic is minced up into really small equal pieces, and all I have to do is scoop it out of the jar.  After coming across this recipe on Annie's Eats, I decided it was time for me to use some "real" garlic to make this dish.  It seemed like the roasted garlic was an integral part of the flavor, and Annie had some very simple directions on roasting the garlic so when I went to the grocery store I bought 2 heads of garlic for the first time in a very long time.

As it turns out, I have been missing out on lots of garlicky flavor!  Roasting the garlic hardly took any effort at all, and it added flavor that cannot be achieved by using store-bought minced garlic.  I think I might be converted!  I'm not going to say that I won't be using jarred garlic at all anymore, but I think now it'll be more like 50/50 instead of 99/1. 

Anyways, this dish was delicious!  It has several different elements that all come together to make a great meal.  It's light and flavorful, and it is definitely going on my repeat list.  The quantities below will serve 2 hungry people, but if I ever make this for four people, I will go ahead and double it.


8 oz. tube shaped pasta, such as penne
1½ tbsp. butter
¼ cup roasted garlic paste*
1½ tbsp. flour
¼ cup dry white wine (as usual, I used Savignon Blanc)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (sharp is best!)
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and blanched until crisp-tender*
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cut into bite size pieces (you can also bake or saute this)
Salt and pepper, to taste

*To make roasted garlic paste, peel the outer papery skins off two heads of garlic, leaving the heads still intact. Slice about a quarter off the top of each head so that all of the cloves are partly exposed. Wrap the heads in foil and bake at 350˚ F for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the peels and smash with a fork to make roasted garlic paste.

*I just boiled the broccoli florets for 5 minutes and set them aside until I was ready to add them in, but you could also steam them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the roasted garlic paste and cook just until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Whisk the flour into the mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to turn golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Stir the white wine and broth into the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and stir until melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix in the broccoli florets and chicken pieces, and cook just until heated through. Mix in the cooked pasta until evenly coated with the sauce. Serve warm.

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