Recipe: Rigatoni with Broccoli & Chicken in a Garlic Olive Oil Sauce

I love browsing through cookbooks for new ideas in the kitchen!  Last year for Christmas, my mom gave me Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love Cookbook.  Cristina Ferrare is a chef on the OWN Network (Oprah Winfrey Network).  The cookbook is easy to follow and has bright and colorful pictures.

I recently decided to adapt one of Cristina’s recipes “Pasta with Broccoli.”  I chose to use rigatoni and decided to add a little more broccoli and some chicken to add to it.  I did decide to keep the sauce the same.  The sauce came out light and perfectly seasoned.  My husband and I were able to eat a hearty meal without it feeling too heavy.  Check out my adaptation to the recipe below!

Rigatoni with Broccoli & Chicken in a Garlic Olive Oil Sauce


  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 crowns of broccoli, cut into smaller-sized florets
  • 8 ounces of rigatoni
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 8 small chicken tenderloins

  • Pour 1/2 cup  olive oil into a pan.  Add in your thinly sliced garlic.  Turn your stove on medium heat and saute until the garlic turns a golden-brown color.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Boil your broccoli until it is tender.  Drain the water, and then add the broccoli to the pan with garlic and olive oil.  Stir well.  (Keep this off the heat for now)
  • Add just a bit of olive oil to a new pan and turn on medium heat.  Add your chicken tenderloins to the pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook on both sides until thoroughly cooked (the outsides will also turn golden-brown).  They should cook up pretty quickly because they are smaller pieces of chicken.
  • Remove your chicken from the pan and cut each tenderloin into four smaller pieces.  Add the chicken to the pan with the broccoli, olive oil, and garlic and stir together.
  • While the broccoli and chicken are cooking, you can start on your pasta.  (Time for some multi-tasking!!) Add your rigatoni to boiling water and continue boiling until the pasta is tender.
  • Drain your pasta, but save about a 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  • Pour your pasta back into the pot and pour the broccoli, chicken, olive oil and garlic mixture over the pasta.  Stir everything together.  If you want, add in the 1/2 cup of pasta water that you set to the side – this will make the sauce a little more smooth and not as oily.
  • Turn your stove on medium to heat everything through (in case your timing wasn’t perfect and some things have been sitting off to the side for a bit!)
  • Transfer the entire pot into a serving dish.  Add a little salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to the top to garnish and add a little more last minute flavor.
  • Take a hard block of parmesan cheese and a peeler to shave some pieces of parmesan cheese onto the top and it is ready to serve!

xoxo, Food Marriage