Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Italian Broccoli and Cheese Pasta

This yummy pasta dish is a twist on two tried and true family favorites: mac and cheese AND broccoli with cheese sauce...for a fraction of the calories!  The roasted garlic adds a creamy texture and fabulous flavor.  Roasted garlic is less pungent than raw garlic, if you've never tried it, give it a shot.  

Hands on time for this meal is only about 15-20 minutes, just be sure to plan ahead to roast the garlic. 

Italian Broccoli and Cheese Pasta

8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta, cooked
1½ tbsp. olive oil
2 heads roasted garlic*
1½ tbsp. flour
1 cup no sodium added chicken broth 
3/4 cup shredded 2% white cheddar cheese
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and steamed until crisp-tender
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp The Delicious Dietitian Italian Spice Blend


Add olive oil to a large saucepan set over medium heat.  Whisk in the roasted garlic paste and cook  30-60 seconds.  Whisk the flour into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to turn golden brown, 1-2 minutes.  Stir the broth into the pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the cheddar and stir until melted.  Add Italian Spice Blend, and stir until mixed into sauce.  
Mix in the broccoli florets and chicken pieces, and cook just until heated through.  Mix in the cooked pasta until evenly coated with the sauce. Serve warm.

*To make roasted garlic paste, peel the outer papery skins off two heads of garlic, leaving the heads intact.  Slice about a quarter off the top of each head so that all of the cloves are partly exposed.  Wrap the garlic in foil and bake at 350˚ F for one hour.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the peels and smash with a fork to make roasted garlic paste. 

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