Rotisserie Chicken and Pasta

Baby BroccoliRotisserie Chicken and Pastashredded chicken in broth

There are those nights when the last thing you feel like doing is going out. A home cooked meal would be great, but it’s 5 o’clock and you haven’t prepared, etc. Here is a great meal you can make with a quick stop to your nearby grocery for a rotisserie chicken and a few ingredients.  I make this meal with broccoli rabe or baby broccoli (which seems to always be available in produce section) or even just regular broccoli. If you can pick up fresh pasta that is best; if not, dry pasta will do just fine. This meal is a staple around our house and this is how I make it. I originally found it in Giada De Laurentis’s family dinner book. I made a few changes to the original which better suits us.


1 lb. broccoli rabe (or baby broccoli or just regular broccoli), trimmed (I cut it into 1- 2 inch pieces, and use just tops of broccoli)

Kosher salt to taste

1 package pasta, fresh or dry (Fettucine is great, but I used Perciatelli this time)

16 oz. chicken broth

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)

1 tablespoon lemon zest (first zest then juice)

1 roasted chicken, shredded

3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (in 400 degree oven for about 5 – 10 minutes  until fragrant; browned not blackened, be careful)

*2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (if you don’t have no big deal. It’s delicious but not totally necessary.)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

*pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (I like it hot)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. I use the pasta insert for the broccoli (just easier). If you don’t have that, just add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, approx. 3 minutes. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Leave water, return to a boil and use for pasta. After pasta is cooked, drain it and reserve 1/2 cup of the water.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, bring the broth and lemon juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the broth is reduced by about 1/2, app. 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and simmer ’til just heated through, another 2 minutes or so. Turn off heat. Add the pasta, broccoli, 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese (reserve last 1/4 cup for topping), pine nuts, parsley, oil, and lemon zest. Toss to coat well which is why you will need a large skillet. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water as you toss to moisten, and season with salt and pepper to your liking. I let it sit out ’til we are ready to eat, and then heat it up and add additional pasta water if it is dry. This is a light meal, and it’s very healthy.

Place pasta into bowls, sprinkle with remaining cheese (and if you like, crushed red pepper) to your liking, and serve.

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