Chicken and Pasta with Roasted Garlic, White Cheddar, and Broccoli

Pic courtesy of Annie's Eats

I made this dish last night and wanted to post it right away for all it's yumminess! It was just a little twist on other pasta dishes that I've made in the past and it paid off- we all loved it. I know roasting the garlic sounds hard and tedious, but, really, it's worth it. And, it really is easy. You literally just squeeze the garlic out of their "shells" once it's been baked. It's packed with delicious garlic flavor and pretty good for your waistline too!

Chicken and Pasta with Roasted Garlic, White Cheddar & Broccoli
adapted from Annie's Eats

8 oz. tube shaped pasta, such as penne or rotini
1½ tbsp. butter
¼ cup roasted garlic paste*
1½ tbsp. flour
1 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (or regular cheddar works fine as well)
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and blanched until crisp-tender
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cut into bite size pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste

*To make roasted garlic paste, peel the outer papery skins off two heads of garlic, leaving the heads still intact. Slice about a quarter off the top of each head so that all of the cloves are partly exposed. Wrap the heads in foil and bake at 350˚ F for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the peels and smash with a fork to make roasted garlic paste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the roasted garlic paste and cook just until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Whisk the flour into the mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to turn golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Stir the broth into the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and stir until melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix in the broccoli florets and chicken pieces, and cook just until heated through. Mix in the cooked pasta until evenly coated with the sauce. Serve warm.