Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Yes, I know we have a lot of chicken and broccoli casserole recipes on this blog. I can't help but share this one, though! It has a great, light flavor. It doesn't have any condensed soup in it (I've been minimizing my use of condensed soup lately). And it's just a bit different than any that I've tried before now. I very much enjoyed it. James even liked it (he loves pasta and broccoli :) )!

I found this recipe at Lillian's Food. It's the same blog where I found the recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara. The flavors of her recipes are sophisticated and light. I like them a lot.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
adapted from Lillian's Food

1 lb. uncooked pasta (I used bowtie, but penne or rotini would work well, too)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 broccoli heads, cut into small florets*
vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, diced (other types of onions work, too)
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
3 c. milk
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c. panko (or other bread crumbs)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 T. minced fresh flat leaf parsley

*Lillian said that this casserole can be made with almost any vegetable. She listed asparagus and zucchini as good options.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to directions on package.

Steam broccoli for a couple minutes (longer if you like your broccoli very tender). This casserole doesn't cook in the oven for very long, so you want your broccoli to be almost the way you like it before putting it with everything else.

Heat a little bit of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned on all sides and fully cooked in the middle. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes. Add flour, stirring constantly, and cook for a minute or two. Slowly add milk, whisking continuously. Whisk frequently until sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Once pasta is finished cooking, drain and return to pot. Add chicken, broccoli, and white sauce to the pot and combine. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Turn oven on to broil.

In a small bowl or ziploc bag (I prefer ziploc bags since it's so easy to shake up all the ingredients), combine panko, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Place casserole under the broiler until bread crumbs are golden brown and casserole is bubbling around the edges. Check frequently so that it doesn't burn (it goes fast). Mine took about 5 minutes.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this casserole because it's slightly different from others out there. Be sure to season it with enough salt and pepper so that it isn't too bland. Here's a link to the original recipe: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.

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