Sautéed chicken in garlic cream sauce with broccoli and pasta

This is something I made up in imitation of an Olive Garden recipe. You can say what you want about Olive Garden’s authenticity, but if you know what to get, you can find some good-tasting stuff. However, I have deviated considerably from their recipe. For instance, I oven-roast some of the garlic and I enriched the sauce with just a little bit of grated Swiss cheese.

To make this dish less rich, simply up the amount of chicken stock and reduce the cream correspondingly.


Serves 8-10.


  5 chicken breasts
  2 lbs broccoli florets (including weight of stems)
  1½ lbs orecchiette or farfalle pasta
  10 large cloves garlic
  2-3 cups light cream
  1 cup chicken stock
  grated Swiss cheese (optional)
  3 tbsp olive oil
  kosher salt
  fresh-ground pepper
  minced rosemary
  fresh-grated nutmeg


1. Slightly freeze the chicken to make it easier to slice it longitudinally (lengthwise and flat) to produce 10 thin breast escallopes (slices). Brine for ½ hour. Remove, rinse well and pat dry.

2. Cook the pasta to al dente and set aside taking care that it doesn’t stick hard together. Steam the broccoli lightly and set aside.

3. Roast 6 cloves of garlic in olive oil in a ramekin (or however you like to do it). Mince the other 4 cloves. Add all the garlic to 2-3 cups of cream and the chicken stock. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of nutmeg. Heat over a medium stove until cream shows signs of simmering. Immediately turn down and keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Turn off completely if it looks like it’s going to burn.

Fortify with a little cheese if you wish, but remember not to overwhelm the garlic-cream sauce and turn it into alfredo.

4. Heat a skillet very hot with olive oil. Dredge one-third of the chicken in flour and shake off as much as possible (you only want a very light breading). Season with salt, pepper and rosemary. Lay out on hot skillet. Only sautée what escallops will fit in the skillet: too many and too close to each other and you’re braising or steaming, but not sautéeing. Get a good sear on each side—2-3 minutes each depending on how thick you sliced them.

5. After the escallops are browned and done (sneak a peek inside the thicker parts if you’re not sure), turn the heat down to low and ladle one-third of the sauce into the pan, add one-third of the broccoli and the pasta. Turn over chicken, broccoli and pasta with tongs or a large spoon several times, then plate for three or so people.

6. Repeat for rest of chicken and remaining ingredients.