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Bird Nests with Chicken and Broccoli

Serves 4

This budget-friendly recipe is a reliable crowd-pleaser – and you’ll have fun making your "nests!"


  • Salt
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head broccoli, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil. Once at a boil, add the pasta and cook to al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the cooked pasta, reserving a large mug of the starchy cooking water, and reserve in colander.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the hot pan. Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, place a small saucepan with about one inch of water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Remove the broccoli from the water and add to the pan with chicken, tossing to combine.
  4. When the pasta has finished cooking and has been drained, return the pot to the stovetop over medium heat and add the butter to melt. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and toss the pasta in the melted butter and cheese to coat.
  5. To serve, divide the pasta between four plates, twirling it into a nest shape on the plate as you portion it. Divide the chicken and broccoli between the four plates, placing it inside the pasta "nest."