So this is a good dish. It’s a dish that I have memorized, a dish that requires just a few ingredients that I always have on-hand (more on that in a bit), a dish that is a simple and comforting crowd pleaser.

pasta tip

But it’s also a dish that reminded me of a helpful tip that I’d like to share with you all today!

When making pasta you’ll often come across instructions to reserve some of the cooking water. This starchy water – when added to your skillet along with the pasta – improves the flavor and texture of your finished sauce, while helping to better bind it to the pasta (this process is called emulsification).

The problem? Remembering to actually reserve the water.

In the past – more times than not – I would only remember to save the water after I had JUST finished emptying the pot into the sink. #sadface

I did this for years till I realized that if I put a reminder in my colander, I’d have a visual cue to stop me from pouring all that liquid gold down the drain.

Like so:

pasta tip

So simple, and works every time.

As for those on-hand ingredients? While I do meal-plan every week, shopping for perishable ingredients, I always have the following staples in my fridge – for times when I either can’t think of one more dinner, OR need an impromptu meal on a moment’s notice:

Freezer: boneless chicken breasts, broccoli florets, tomato paste (in 1/4 cup measurements) and white wine (in 1 cup measurements)

Pantry: cans of chicken and veggie stock, all manner of pasta, good quality marinara sauce, panko, olive oil

Fridge: a wedge of parmesan, bags of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese

Counter: onions and garlic

What’s your favorite cooking tip? And what are some staples that can always be found in your kitchen?

Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, chopped
8 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
1 pound penne (or other short, tubular pasta)
1/4 cup (generous) grated parmesan
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion till translucent; do not brown. Add the chicken and saute till cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Salt the boiling water and add the broccoli; cook till firm yet tender (about 3 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the skillet with chicken. Return the water to boil and add the pasta; cook according to package directions. Remove 1 cup of cooking water prior to draining – add it to the skillet along with the drained pasta. Season with salt and pepper, add the grated cheese and serve immediately.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver

All of my fave dinner recipes, along with handy kitchen tips, can be found on my Pinterest boards!

pasta tip


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