When I was looking through my hundreds of bookmarked recipes for a comforting, easy meal to make for dinner one night, I came across this pasta with roasted garlic, white cheddar, and wine sauce on Annie's Eats and it fit the bill perfectly. Most normal people would have made the recipe as written, because it looked pretty amazing. But because I can't seem to follow a recipe for the life of me, my brain immediately started whirring with ideas to change things up a little, and this is what I came up with!
Instead of making a butter-flour based sauce with chicken broth and a bit of white wine, I decided to use equal parts wine and broth, and I switched to a mushroom broth (and threw in some onions and mushrooms) so the sauce would have lots of flavour. I eliminated the butter because the cheese made the sauce thick and rich enough. I kept in the roasted garlic but added a bit of Dijon mustard for an extra kick. Finally, I threw in some sundried tomatoes for added flavour and texture.
Everything was so flavourful and combined into an amazing meal that tasted rich but was still reasonably healthy by my standards. The best part was the sauce, which you can't really see in the pictures because it absorbed into the ingredients pretty well, but it had such a deep flavour that really made the dish. It may seem like a lot of work to make this, but if you prepare a few things ahead of time, like the roasted garlic and chicken, then it's pretty easy to throw together. And of course, you can easily make it vegetarian by leaving out the chicken as there's plenty else going on in this pasta!
Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Mine will be filled mostly with school work and housework, but I'm hoping to get out to enjoy the sun a bit - it's been gorgeous here lately!
Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli in a Mushroom White Wine Sauce
Adapted from a recipe originally from Good Things Catered (no longer active) and seen on Annie’s Eats
Makes 4-6 servings
2 heads of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large chicken breast
1 lb penne pasta (whole wheat or regular)
1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
1 small onion, diced
8 oz pre-sliced white or crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup mushroom stock (I made this from a bouillon cube, but if you can’t find it, you could substitute chicken stock)
1-1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon flour
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup diced sundried tomatoes (rehydrated if necessary)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the ends off the two heads of garlic so that the cloves are exposed. Drizzle the exposed cloves with a teaspoon of olive oil, then wrap the heads with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for about 1 hour. Unwrap and let cool, then squeeze the garlic out of the skin and mash into a paste. Mix the Dijon mustard into the garlic paste. Set aside.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken breast in the skillet for about 5-6 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes before slicing into small pieces. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for length of time specified on package. Set chopped broccoli in a steamer basket over the boiling water and cover. Steam for about 3 minutes until crisp-tender, then remove from heat. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and set aside.
At the same time, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and mushrooms and cook until soft, stirring often, about 5-7 minutes. Add the roasted garlic paste and stir for about a minute. Add the white wine and mushroom broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer until reduced by about half, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted. Add the flour and whisk the mixture over low heat, until thickened slightly. Season generously with pepper.
Combine the pasta, chicken, broccoli, sundried tomatoes, and sauce in a large pot. Heat briefly over low heat if not warm enough. Serve warm.