If minimizing dirty dishes is something that appeals to you, this comforting one pot pasta with chicken, broccoli and cheese is heaven sent.

Ingredients: 

(Note: This recipe can easily be halved to serve about 4 people. Just use a medium size pot, perhaps 24 or 26cm diameter.)

45 ml olive oil

1 kg boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite size chunks (I used thighs)

salt & pepper

1 teaspoon (5 ml) smoked paprika

2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock

4 cups (1 liter) milk

500 g uncooked pasta (preferably bite size shapes – I used rigatoni)

400 g broccoli, cut into bite size chunks

2 cups grated mature cheese (I used Dalewood’s Huguenot, but cheddar will also work)

about 1 cup small croutons*, for serving (optional)

How to :

In a large pot (I used a 30cm Le Creuset round casserole) over high heat, heat the oil and add the chicken. Fry for a few minutes until brown, stirring. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Turn the heat down and remove the chicken from the pot with a slotted spoon (you’ll add it back later). Now add the onion and fry over medium heat until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, then add the stock and milk and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta, stir, put a lid on (keep a small gap open to prevent the liquid from boiling over the edges) and cook for about 8-10 minutes until almost al dente, stirring every now and then (it should still be a little firm). Add the browned chicken back to the pot, plus the broccoli, and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then turn off the heat. Add the cheese and stir briefly until just melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve at once, optionally topped with small crispy croutons.

*To make small croutons: cut 2 slices of good quality bread like sour dough loaf into very small cubes. Add it to a pan with a splash of olive oil, salt & pepper, and optionally a few fresh thyme leaves. Fry until golden, then set aside to cool.

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Recipe and Images by Ilse van der Merwe, The Food Fox