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Fussili Pasta with Garlic-Thyme Cream Sauce and Pan-Roasted Broccoli

Super simple, creamy pasta with garlic & thyme cream sauce. This recipe is so versatile it can be left as is, or you can use this sauce with any pasta, add chicken or shrimp, and more. I’ll leave tips for variations below!


The kids could eat us out of a house with pasta if we let them. They wouldn’t care if I served a fancy shrimp scampi or a $0.99 package of ramen. There’s just something about pasta…(ahem, the carbs!) that gets them excited. I was the same way when I was a kid, but then I got older and learned to cook, and I get it, that little packet of straight sodium that comes in ramen noodles is addictive, but it doesn’t quite cut it for me anymore…ha!

A few days ago, I was in the mood to make something I knew the kids would eat and something Drew and I would enjoy, too. This is what I came up with, and it’s really yummy! I can’t decide if I loved the cream sauce more or the pasta choice more because both are equally delicious in this dish, and while you can use this recipe with any pasta, I recommend sticking with the fussili because the texture is perfect!

Variations:

Veggies: Sliced mushrooms, green peas, diced tomatoes, chopped spinach, sautéed Brussels sprouts.


Meats: Shrimp, small Italian meatballs, Italian sausage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins, diced

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided (4 & 2)

  • 1 rosemary sprig

  • 2 small heads of broccoli florets, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese


Cream Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

  • 1/4 cup real bacon bits

  • 1/2 pound pasta, cooked

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.

  • Season chicken with a little salt and pepper, to taste, and cook in 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until done (about 15 minutes. Juices will run clear instead of pink).



**Tip, let chicken sit and slightly brown on one side before flipping.


  • Cook broccoli florets on one side, over medium heat in 2 tablespoons olive oil, until slightly browned. Stir and cook another 2 minutes. Then stir in 3 tablespoons water; cover and cook another 2-3 minutes, or to desired tenderness.


  • Cook pasta according to package directions.

  • While pasta is boiling, sauté minced garlic in butter over medium heat, about 2 minutes.

  • Add thyme leaves and red pepper flakes.

  • Whisk in cream cheese. It will be chunky at first. Just keep stirring until melted and smooth.

  • Add chicken broth a little bit at a time.

  • Then add heavy cream and simmer 4-6 minutes, or until slightly thickened.


  • Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese and bacon bits. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

  • Mix chicken, broccoli, pasta and sauce. Pour in pre-greased baking pan. Top with mozzarella and bake 10 minutes.





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