In this chicken and broccoli pasta, a hint of stone ground mustard gives a bit of tang to creamy melted cheese mixed into whole wheat pasta, broccoli florets, and shredded chicken.
Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
“I like the chicken. And the broccoli is pretty good. But I like the pasta the best.” Music to this mama’s ears, especially given I was delivering whole wheat pasta for dinner.
I’m not going to paint a picture that’s all rosy and rah-rah that says my family agrees with me when I say, “Yes! Let’s eat more healthy whole foods!”
The truth is, my family is a little reluctant when it comes to downing a whole bowl of whole wheat pasta. Case in point when my husband walked into the kitchen and saw this dish on the stove, and said, “Oh. * sad face * “Whole wheat pasta, huh?”
Ahhh, not to fear, I have my wiley ways. And things can change pretty quickly around here, including his mind, when I put my mind to it.
I for one (in my family) am a fan of the whole wheat, like in my Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta that is off. the. hook, as the kids say. Or do they? That saying may very well be circa 2005. Eeek. Quick Google search and urban dictionary deems it 2002.
Okay, I may be off in my hipness, but not in my taste for pasta.
My secret to converting the family to whole foods feasting is to infuse plenty of flavor into the pasta, the sauce, and the fixins’ that go into this 30-minute meal. Hello, weeknight dinner at home.
DeLallo pasta is one of my favorite pastas because of its quality, and I’m all about quality in my pasta, especially whole wheat because I don’t want to go through the contortions to convince my family that whole wheat is just as tasty as regular pasta and then deliver them a cardboard flavored noodle.
As Smudge says, “No bueno, mom.”
I think what sets DeLallo apart from the rest is its texture, its toothiness that gives sauce something to stick to. Their whole wheat variety is made with organic semolina from the plains of Puglia, Italy. Yep, it’s the real deal.
What’s in This Creamy Chicken Pasta?
This whole grain pasta recipe is a cinch to make, and the ingredients list is minimal. Here’s what you’ll need to make this chicken broccoli pasta:
- Whole wheat pasta
- Broccoli florets
- All-purpose flour
- Low-fat milk
- Whole grain mustard
- Shredded fontina cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Shredded, cooked chicken
How to Make Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
First, you’ll need to cook the pasta according to package instructions. Then, to save a step and a clean pan, I scoop the pasta out of the pasta water once it’s done and transfer it to a drainer or bowl. I then add the broccoli to the pasta water and cook it for about 3 minutes or so, then drain it as well.
While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, make the cheese sauce. The cheese sauce starts out with a basic roux of low-fat milk added to lightly browned butter and flour. Make sure your milk is cold, straight from the refrigerator, and you’ll avoid any clumps.
Cook the roux until the mixture thickens, then stir in the mustard and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the two types of cheese. Then, it’s just a matter of stirring in the cooked pasta and broccoli and diving in.
What Type of Pasta Should I Use?
Any short, sturdy whole grain pasta will work. I recommend buying something like penne or fusilli.
Can I Use Other Types of Cheese?
I’m sure you can! I bet shredded cheddar would also work in this recipe, as would Monterrey Jack. If you use another type of cheese, leave me a comment below letting me know how your whole wheat pasta dish turned out.
Tips for Making Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
This is my favorite whisk for mixing the roux. Its small, silicone balls on the ends of the whisk get into the corners of the pan and doesn’t leave any scratches.
Be sure to remove your roux from the heat before adding the cheese to the mix. You don’t want the cheese to seize and become a big clump or separate because it’s too hot.
I use shredded chicken from a store-bought rotisserie chicken to save even more time. If you’d prefer to cook the whole deal from home, here’s my 5 tips for simple and juicy roast chicken.
More Easy Pasta Recipes to Make
- One-Pot Penna Pasta with Turkey and Spinach
- Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
- Lighter Penne Alla Vodka
- Baked Sausage and Cheese Rigatoni
- Creamy Pasta with Salmon and Asparagus
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Bookmark this recipe and leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
- 8 ounces DeLallo short whole wheat pasta (such as fusilli or penne)
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups shredded fontina cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnishing
- 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Scoop the pasta into a drainer or bowl and reserve the hot pasta water.
- Add the broccoli to the pasta water and cook for about 3 minutes or until desired tenderness. Drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce. Over medium high heat, melt butter in a large sauce pan and whisk in the flour. Cook while whisking for about 2 minutes.
- Add milk and whisk continuously to avoid any clumps. Cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the mustard and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Add the chicken breast, the whole wheat pasta and the broccoli and stir to combine. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with shredded parmesan cheese. Serve hot.
More Italian Recipes to Make for Dinner
- Homemade Chicken Parmesan
- Mom’s Homemade Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce
- Easy Homemade Pesto Pasta
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This post is sponsored by DeLallo Foods. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There may be affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.
Great dish – loved the mustard inclusion – really adds a lovely taste
I’m gonna try this today. I’m a college student on campus for the summer, so this should be a fun meal for dinner this week!
could I substitute the fontina cheese for marble or mozzarella ?
Yes, Colette, that would be a fine substitution. Enjoy!
Can you freeze this meal after you cook it? If so, does it freeze well?
Any suggestions for a cheaper substitution for fontina cheese? I’m sure it wouldn’t be as good, but fancy cheeses aren’t in our budget :(
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My kids would love this recipe!
ashley - baker by nature
You know I have a major weakness for pasta of any kind, so this is *right up my alley! Making one night very SOON!!!
I have to try this whole pasta with my little guy (and the dish of course). He loves pasta and I really never thought to give him anything but the regular kind.
Erin | The Law Student's Wife
Yep–> Off. The. Hook. (And I’m all for whole wheat pasta, especially when it has great texture!)
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Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough
This is the perfect weeknight dinner!
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I’m all over this pasta! It’s perfect! (though I’m kind of with Brian on the tuna thing…could totally go that way too!). Looks delicious Heidi.
Brian @ A Thought For Food
Is it weird that I want to put tuna in here? Yea… because I kind of like tuna casserole. Yup, it’s weird. No need to say it.
This dish looks great and yay for being the mom who gets their kids to like whole wheat pasta!
Fancy that! Sandy of Reluctant Entertainer just posted a Tuna Casserole here > http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/09/tuna-casserole/. I’m with you on liking tuna casserole, I think it gets a bad rap!
I make a very similar recipe. It is a favorite in my house and ends up in the rotation a few times a month. Here is a tip for cooking the brocolli so it is done at the same time as the pasta: I either put it in with the pasta during the last few minutes of cooking the pasta (it does not change the flavor of the pasta) or, I put a steamer pan over the pasta water and cook the brocolli over the pasta pan during most of the cooking time. I have also used leftover chicken and frozen chopped brocolli in a pinch, and it still turns out great!
Annalise @ Completely Delicious
I’ve been very skeptical of whole wheat pasta up until this point, but I’ve heard good thing about DeLallo’s, so I think I better give it a try!
My whole family would agree with you! But I’m turning them into converts. !!YES!!
Kathy @ Olives & Garlic
Heidi I love this recipe for it’s simplicity and I know my daughter will love it.