Broccoli & Spinach Chicken Pasta

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1 pound pasta (I used Gemelli)

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoon good quality olive oil, divided

1 shallot, minced

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 cup broccolini or broccoli, chopped into small, elegant little trees (if the trunks are thick, cut in half to speed up your cook time)

1 1/2 cups spinach (or arugula or kale or all three…whatever green makes you happy), julienned

3 cups cooked shredded chicken

1 to 2 lemons, juice + zest (this depends on your lust for lemons…I like to use two lemons and I’m in lemon heaven. If you have lemon limits, start with 1 lemon and see how you’re feeling. I won’t judge.)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

¼ cup basil, chopped

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


Put a pot of water on the stovetop over high heat…make sure there’s enough room in there for your 1 pound of pasta. Throw a couple of pinches of salt in there. Open that bottle of wine. Take a sip. Relax. Turn on some music. Please tell me that you’re out of your work clothes?

Put a large skillet over the lowest heat possible. Make sure the skillet will be large enough to hold your pasta because it’s going in there once it’s done boiling. Put your 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet, zest in your lemon zest and let it mingle. Get to know each other. They’re good together, aren’t they? Do we need to talk about zesting citrus real quick? Make sure you don’t get any of the white part when zesting…just the yellow rind. It’s my new favorite verb. Zesting.

Chop up your shallots, garlic, veggies and herbs and shred your chicken.Is the water boiling? Throw the pasta in there and cook according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile turn the heat on the skillet up to a nice medium…not too high, not to lowwww. You want to soften the shallot and veggies, yet you don’t want to burn your garlic.Add the shallots and pine nuts and push around the pan a bit. Maybe 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add your spinach/arugula and broccolini/broccoli and cook for 1 minute. If your broccoli has thick trunks, cook a wee longer…maybe another minute (it will have crisp to it, which I like).

Turn off the heat and add the shredded chicken. Push it around the pan so it gets to know its’ peers.Drain your pasta, reserving about 2 cup of the pasta water. You’re going to use this later if your pasta needs a bit more moisture to it.Add the pasta to the skillet and toss around a bit. Add your 1 teaspoon of salt, herbs, plus the ¼ cup olive oil and the juice from your lemon(s).

Sprinkle the 1 cup of parmesan in there and mix well.Toss and taste. This is the best part of cooking. Are you feeling enough of the lemon and olive oil? If not, add a touch more of both and taste. Add some of the reserved pasta liquid if you’d like a little more moisture in there. Add in ¼ cup increments.

If you have any leftovers, you can add a bit more of the pasta water to keep things fluid in there before shoving it into the fridge.Grate some more Parm over each bowl before serving.

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