Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe

Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe

Have you ever craved a comforting and satisfying pasta dish that is both delicious and nutritious?

Look no further than the mouthwatering Chicken Broccoli Ziti recipe.

This delectable combination of tender chicken, vibrant broccoli, and al dente ziti pasta will leave your taste buds begging for more.

But that’s not all – the secret lies in the flavorful garlic parmesan sauce that brings all the ingredients together in perfect harmony.

Are you ready to discover the simple steps to create this culinary masterpiece?

Stay tuned, because you won’t want to miss out on this tantalizing recipe.

Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe
Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe

Key Takeaways

  • The chicken breasts should be cooked for about 6-8 minutes on each side until cooked through.
  • The broccoli can be blanched in boiling water until bright green and slightly tender, then cooled and cut into bite-sized florets.
  • The ziti pasta should be cooked according to the package instructions, achieving an al dente texture.
  • The garlic Parmesan sauce can be varied by adding ingredients such as red pepper flakes, lemon juice, herbs, or roasted garlic for different flavors.

Ingredients Needed for Chicken Broccoli Ziti

To make a delicious and satisfying Chicken Broccoli Ziti, you’ll need a handful of essential ingredients that come together to create a flavorful and comforting dish. The preparation time for this dish is approximately 15 minutes, while the cooking time is around 30 minutes.

First and foremost, you’ll need boneless, skinless chicken breasts. These should be cut into bite-sized pieces to ensure even cooking. Additionally, you’ll need fresh broccoli florets, which add a vibrant green color and a healthy crunch to the dish.

Next, gather some ziti pasta, which serves as the base for this delightful recipe. The pasta should be cooked according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. This will ensure that it retains a slight firmness when combined with the other ingredients.

To enhance the flavor, you’ll need minced garlic, dried Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. These seasonings add a savory kick and a subtle heat to the dish. Don’t forget to have some grated Parmesan cheese on hand, as it adds a rich and nutty flavor to the ziti.

Lastly, gather the necessary liquids: chicken broth and heavy cream. These ingredients create a creamy and luscious sauce that coats the chicken, broccoli, and pasta. The chicken broth provides a savory base, while the heavy cream adds richness and a smooth texture.

With these essential ingredients at your disposal, you’re well on your way to creating a delectable Chicken Broccoli Ziti. Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to dive into the preparation and cooking process.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Cooking the Chicken

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients for your Chicken Broccoli Ziti, it’s time to move on to the next step: cooking the chicken.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure your chicken is flavorful and perfectly cooked:

  • Start by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and let it heat up.

  • Season your chicken breasts with your choice of seasoning options. You can go for a classic combination of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, or get creative with some paprika, cumin, and chili powder.

  • Once the oil is hot, carefully add the seasoned chicken breasts to the skillet. Cook them for about 6-8 minutes on each side, or until they’re cooked through and no longer pink in the center.

  • While the chicken is cooking, you can start preparing the rest of your dish. Keep an eye on the chicken and flip it halfway through to ensure even cooking.

  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skillet and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it into thin strips.

How to Prepare the Broccoli for the Recipe

To prepare the broccoli for the chicken broccoli ziti recipe, start by blanching the broccoli in boiling water for a few minutes until it becomes bright green and slightly tender.

Then, remove it from the boiling water and immediately transfer it to an ice bath to stop the cooking process and maintain its vibrant color.

Once cooled, cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets, discarding the tough stems.

Blanching the Broccoli

Prepare the broccoli for the recipe by blanching it to achieve the perfect balance of vibrant color and tender-crisp texture. Blanching is a simple yet effective technique that involves briefly immersing the broccoli in boiling water, followed by a quick plunge into ice water to halt the cooking process.

Here are five key benefits of blanching:

  • Retains color: Blanching helps preserve the beautiful green hue of the broccoli, making it visually appealing in the dish.
  • Enhances texture: By blanching, you can achieve a tender-crisp texture, ensuring that the broccoli isn’t too soft or mushy.
  • Removes bitterness: Blanching helps to mellow out any bitter flavors, resulting in a more enjoyable taste.
  • Cleanses and sanitizes: The blanching process helps remove any dirt, impurities, or potential contaminants from the broccoli.
  • Prepares for cooking: Blanching pre-cooks the broccoli, reducing the overall cooking time in the recipe.

Cutting the Broccoli

After blanching the broccoli to perfection, the next step is to skillfully cut it, ensuring that each piece is uniform in size and ready to be incorporated into the Chicken Broccoli Ziti recipe.

Preparing vegetables can often be time-consuming, but with a few simple steps, you can cut the broccoli efficiently. Start by placing the blanched broccoli on a cutting board. Take a sharp knife and trim off the tough ends of the stalks. Then, separate the florets from the stalks by gently pulling them apart or using the tip of the knife. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, keeping them as even in size as possible.

Don’t discard the stalks! They can be used in alternative broccoli recipes, such as stir-fries or soups.

Now that your broccoli is perfectly cut, you’re ready to move on to the next step in creating a delicious Chicken Broccoli Ziti.

Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe
Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe

Steaming the Broccoli

Ready to take your Chicken Broccoli Ziti to the next level? Let’s dive into the art of steaming the broccoli, a crucial step in preparing this delectable recipe. Steaming vegetables not only preserves their vibrant colors but also locks in their nutrients, resulting in a healthy and flavorful addition to your ziti.

Here are some steaming techniques to ensure the perfect broccoli for your dish:

  • Place the broccoli florets in a steamer basket over simmering water, allowing the steam to gently cook them until they become tender yet crisp.
  • Cover the steamer basket with a tight-fitting lid to trap the steam and create a moist cooking environment.
  • Steam the broccoli for around 5-7 minutes, checking for doneness by inserting a fork into the florets. They should be easily pierced but still retain their shape.
  • Alternatively, you can blanch the broccoli in boiling water for a minute before transferring it to an ice bath to stop the cooking process, resulting in a vibrant green color.

While broccoli is the star of this dish, feel free to experiment with alternative vegetable options such as cauliflower or asparagus. The steaming process will work its magic with any of these choices, elevating your Chicken Broccoli Ziti to new heights.

Cooking the Ziti Pasta to Perfection

Now it’s time to tackle the crucial step of cooking the ziti pasta to perfection.

The ideal cooking time for ziti pasta is about 8-10 minutes, but be sure to check the package instructions for specific guidelines.

You want to achieve an al dente texture, where the pasta is cooked through but still slightly firm to the bite.

Ideal Cooking Time

To achieve perfectly cooked ziti pasta, ensure you follow the ideal cooking time for a deliciously tender and al dente texture. Cooking the pasta for too long will result in a mushy and overcooked dish, while undercooking it will leave you with a tough and chewy bite.

Here are some tips to help you cook your ziti pasta to perfection:

  • Start by bringing a pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add the ziti pasta and cook it according to the package instructions, usually around 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Test the pasta for doneness by taking a bite. It should be firm yet tender, with a slight bite in the center.
  • Drain the pasta immediately to stop the cooking process and prevent it from becoming overcooked.
  • Rinse the pasta with cold water to remove excess starch and prevent it from sticking together.

Al Dente Texture

For the perfect al dente texture, cook your ziti pasta until it’s firm yet tender, with a slight bite in the center. Achieving this ideal texture requires precise cooking techniques and attention to detail. Here’s a simple guide to cook your ziti pasta to perfection:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Add salt to enhance the flavor of the pasta.

  2. Add the ziti pasta to the boiling water and stir to prevent sticking. Cook according to the package instructions, but start checking for doneness a minute or two before the suggested cooking time.

  3. To determine if the pasta is al dente, take a piece and bite into it. It should be firm but not crunchy. The center should have a slight resistance.

  4. Once the pasta reaches the desired texture, drain it immediately and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Making the Flavorful Garlic Parmesan Sauce

Enhance the flavors of your chicken broccoli ziti with a creamy and aromatic garlic Parmesan sauce that will leave your taste buds craving for more. This delectable sauce adds a burst of flavor to the dish, elevating it to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Here are some variations of garlic Parmesan sauce that you can try:

  • Classic Garlic Parmesan: Made with minced garlic, butter, Parmesan cheese, and cream, this version is rich and velvety, perfectly complementing the chicken and broccoli in your ziti.

  • Spicy Garlic Parmesan: Add a kick to your sauce by incorporating red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce. The heat will tantalize your taste buds and take the dish to a whole new level.

  • Lemon Garlic Parmesan: For a refreshing twist, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the sauce. The citrusy tang will brighten up the flavors and add a zesty element to your ziti.

  • Herb-infused Garlic Parmesan: Experiment with different herbs like basil, parsley, or oregano. Chop them finely and mix them into the sauce to infuse it with a fragrant and earthy aroma.

  • Roasted Garlic Parmesan: Roasting garlic cloves before adding them to the sauce intensifies their flavor, resulting in a more robust and caramelized taste.

Not only does garlic Parmesan sauce enhance the flavors of chicken broccoli ziti, but it also has alternative uses. Drizzle it over roasted vegetables, spread it on sandwiches, or use it as a dip for breadsticks. The possibilities are endless!

Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe

Recipe by Heather SmithCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Intermediate


Prep time


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Indulge in a comforting and flavorful Italian-American classic with this Chicken Broccoli Ziti recipe. This hearty main course combines tender pieces of chicken, vibrant broccoli florets, and ziti pasta, all smothered in a luscious Parmesan cream sauce. The dish strikes a perfect balance between rich and savory, creating a satisfying meal for family dinners or special occasions.


  • 8 oz (about 225g) ziti pasta

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cups broccoli florets

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for some heat)

  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  • Cook the ziti pasta according to the package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain and set aside.
  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken and cook until browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add a bit more olive oil if needed.
  • Sauté the garlic and onion until softened.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
  • Serve hot and enjoy your delicious Chicken Broccoli Ziti!

Combining All the Ingredients and Serving the Dish

Combine all the carefully prepared ingredients and bring together the flavors of chicken, broccoli, and ziti in a tantalizing dish that will satisfy your cravings. Now that you have made the flavorful garlic parmesan sauce and cooked the chicken, broccoli, and ziti to perfection, it’s time to combine them all and create a mouthwatering meal.

Start by draining the cooked ziti and adding it to a large mixing bowl. Next, add the cooked chicken and broccoli to the bowl and toss gently to evenly distribute the ingredients. Pour the garlic parmesan sauce over the mixture and toss again, ensuring that every piece is coated with the creamy goodness.

To serve this delicious dish, you have a few options. For a classic presentation, simply transfer the chicken broccoli ziti to a large platter and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Another serving suggestion is to portion the ziti onto individual plates and top each serving with a sprinkle of parmesan and a sprig of parsley.

Feel free to customize this recipe to your liking. You can add other vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms for added flavor and texture. If you prefer a different type of pasta, such as penne or rigatoni, go ahead and make the substitution. This dish is versatile, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make it your own.

Now that you know how to combine all the ingredients and serve this delectable chicken broccoli ziti, go ahead and enjoy a satisfying and flavorful meal that will leave you wanting more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Alternative Vegetables That Can Be Used Instead of Broccoli in This Recipe?

If you’re looking to switch up the veggies in your Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe, there are plenty of delicious alternatives. Consider trying options like cauliflower, asparagus, or even spinach. And yes, you can absolutely use a different type of pasta!

Can I Use a Different Type of Pasta Instead of Ziti?

Sure, you can use a different type of pasta instead of ziti. There are plenty of options like penne, fusilli, or farfalle. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly and follow the pasta cooking tips.

Can I Use Boneless Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breast?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. They have a richer flavor and can be cooked using various techniques like grilling, baking, or sautéing. This will add a delicious twist to your dish.

Can I Substitute the Parmesan Cheese With a Different Type of Cheese?

Yes, you can substitute the parmesan cheese with a different type of cheese. Some options include cheddar, mozzarella, or even feta. Additionally, feel free to experiment with other types of pasta like penne or fusilli. Enjoy your culinary freedom!

How Long Can the Dish Be Stored in the Refrigerator Before It Needs to Be Consumed?

You can store the dish in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before it needs to be consumed. However, keep in mind that the texture of the chicken may change slightly after being refrigerated.

Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe
Chicken Broccoli Ziti Recipe


In just a few simple steps, you can create a mouthwatering chicken broccoli ziti dish that will leave your taste buds begging for more.

From cooking the tender chicken to preparing the fresh broccoli and perfectly al dente ziti pasta, every element of this recipe comes together to create a flavorful and satisfying meal.

And with the addition of the delectable garlic Parmesan sauce, every bite is bursting with deliciousness.

Don’t wait any longer to try this amazing recipe – your taste buds will thank you!

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