This chicken and broccoli alfredo is the result of a wonderful experiment! The sauce involved isn’t your typical Alfredo, it’s Alfredo with a twist, which is why I’m calling it “un-classic.” In other news, I used to have a folder in my Google drive titled “un-classic sci-fi” before I learned that there was a category called soft science fiction. Un-classic this, un-classic that. I think un-classic just means original. Once you master this dish (or while you’re working on mastering it!) you can add ingredients of your choice. Spring pea Alfredo? Sounds great! Sausage Alfredo? Marvelous!

And if you’re not already saving bacon fat in a jar, now’s a good time to start. Whenever you cook bacon, make sure you pour the fat off into your jar. It’s a wonderful addition to a number of dishes, including this one.

Last note: this recipe may LOOK long and complex, but it’s really not. It’s about a half hour from start to finish, and once you make it a few times you’ll have the timing down pat.

Un-classic Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

The smoothest, creamiest sauce you’ll ever taste… chicken that’s crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside… toasted broccoli… and a secret ingredient that’ll leave your diners guessing!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: alfredo, broccoli, chicken, pasta, quick
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Large saute pan
  • Large pot

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast tenderloins cut into 3/4 inch cubes

For the broccoli:

  • 1 tsp rendered bacon fat or butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 head broccoli broken into small bite-size pieces

For the pasta:

  • 1/2 box pasta in any shape — ziti, penne, and rigatoni are my favorites
  • Salt to taste (for the water)

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp rendered bacon fat or butter
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tbsp Parmesan Reggiano cheese grated and divided into two 4-tbsp portions
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch nutmeg

Instructions

Preparing the chicken and broccoli:

  • In a large pan, heat the butter and olive oil for the chicken over medium-high heat. Add the salt and garlic powder to the pan while it heats. It is important to get the pan very hot. When it is hot, add the cubed chicken. Cook, stirring periodically, until the chicken is crisp and golden on the outside. Turn off the heat and transfer the chicken to a bowl; set aside.
  • If there are any burned bits in the pan, rinse it quickly. Then add the bacon fat and olive oil for the broccoli and heat them on medium-high; add the salt and garlic powder as before. Again, it is important to get the pan very hot. Once it is hot, add the broccoli. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until you see some parts of the broccoli beginning to crisp and brown. Turn off the heat and transfer the broccoli to a bowl (you can use the same bowl that the chicken is in, if you like) and set aside.

Preparing the pasta:

  • Fill a large pot about halfway with water and heat it on high; salt the water. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. When the pasta is just under al dente (not quite cooked) turn off the heat. Reserve about a cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta.

Preparing the sauce and assembly:

  • While the pasta is cooking, scramble the egg in a small bowl. Add one of the 4-tbsp portions of Parmesan cheese and stir until combined.
  • Then heat the bacon fat and butter for the sauce over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook 3-4 minutes until the garlic becomes crispy and golden. If the pasta is not done yet, turn off the heat. If the pasta is finished cooking, turn the heat down to low and add the pasta to the pan along with some of the reserved pasta water.
  • Stir to coat the pasta in fat and oil, then add the egg and cheese mixture to the pan. Stir vigorously. A smooth sauce should begin to emerge. If it is too thick, add some more of the reserved water. Then add the cream and turn the heat up to medium. Stir to combine the sauce with the cream; the result should be smooth and slightly off-white. Raise the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer, then add the remaining 4 tbsp of Parmesan cheese little by little. If the sauce becomes too thick, add additional pasta water; if the final product seems thin, add more Parmesan.
  • Once the sauce has reached the desired consistency, add the chicken and broccoli. Stir to combine everything, then add the pinch of nutmeg (err on the side of less) and stir one last time. Then your pasta is ready to serve! Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and any toppings of your choice.

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