Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 small jar (3-4 oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1 lb chicken breasts, sliced
1 cup half and half or sub
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz penne pasta (brown rice pasta or whole wheat)
1/2 pound broccoli florets
1 tablespoon basil
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar. Add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) and saute for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Remove sun-dried tomatoes from the pan, leaving the oil, and add sliced chicken breasts (generously salted on both sides and lightly covered in paprika, for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat. Cook pasta according to package instructions. When pasta is about half done, add the broccoli florets. Continue cooking both pasta and broccoli for about 5 more minutes, until pasta is al dente. Reserve at least 1/2 cup cooked pasta water. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water (to stop cooking). Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller bits and add them back to the skillet with chicken. Add half and half and cheese to the skillet, too, and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. Add cooked pasta and broccoli to the skillet with the creamy sauce, and stir to combine. Add basil, red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Add about 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water because the creamy sauce will be too thick (do not add all water at once – you might need less or more of it). Immediately, season the pasta if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine

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