Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Recipe Wednesday: Chicken, Ziti, and Broccoli

One of my favorite things to make for dinner stems from my hometown of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. And seeing as I'm going to write about Fitchburg again--well, the Small Town PI series, which is normally set in my hometown but will be focused on Truro, Mass. for this one--I might as well share one of my favorite recipes.

Before I met Jen, I used to eat quite a bit at Slattery's, a nice little eatery with a full bar not too far from where I lived. In fact, Jen and I met at Slattery's, set up by mutual friends of ours. And one of the things I ate there--heck, always ate--was Chicken, Ziti, and Broccoli. I've adapted the recipe a little, and I make it every so often. Jen loves it, and it's pretty filling.

Here it is:

Prep time will vary.

We start off by boiling water in a large pot. I usually add olive oil to the water and bring it to a boil. I add the pasta; penne takes about 10-12 minutes to cook to the desired texture. Penne is smaller than regular-sized ziti at my grocery store; rigatoni is too big. Any tubular pasta works.

In a small saucepan, I mix olive oil along with several tablespoons of butter, and then throw in some fresh, chopped garlic. I automatically set the burner to its lowest setting. I sprinkle in some dried basil, and I'll stir this mixture every few minutes up until about 15-20 minutes have passed.

In a large, oiled skillet, I place sliced, tenderized chicken breast pieces and pan-fry on medium heat for about 15 minutes total, turning occasionally. Midway through, I'll grind up some salt and pepper, then turn again. At 10 minutes in, reduce heat and sprinkle on some grated Parmesan/Romano cheese. I will also sprinkle in some bread crumbs; if you want, you can use panko. We tenderize the chicken so that it is done in 15 minutes. Your chicken should be golden brown.

For about 10 minutes or so, steam your broccoli. I don't want my broccoli soggy; I want it firm.

Once everything is done, layer your dish: pasta first, followed by your chicken pieces, then broccoli. Spoon in your garlic/butter/oil on top. Sprinkle on some additional Parmesan/Romano to taste, and top with parsley flakes or fresh parsley from the garden.

Hope you enjoy this Sweeney Family favorite.