The beauty, or rather, the luxury of a great small recipe is that you can use judicious amounts of luscious ingredients–precisely because it is small. Eat it; savor it; it’s gone. Then it’s back to eating mostly healthy food. You may have heard this referred to as the 80/20 rule: 80% healthy food, 20% indulgence. It has totally worked for me long-term, which is why I love some good heavy cream and egg yolks when a great recipe is begging for them!
This recipe can be changed-up as you wish with different meat/fish/shellfish and different veg, but I am partial to the classic chicken and broccoli. I have recently discovered how easy life becomes when you have a boneless, skinless chicken thigh at your disposal. So that’s where we’re headed.
Preheat your small skillet over medium heat, until you can feel the heat when you hold your hand about 3 inches above the pan. Add enough vegetable or olive oil to cover-coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken thigh, and lay it in the pan to cook.
The secret here is that the chicken will “tell” you when it is time to flip it over. Yes. By beginning to release itself from the pan. Don’t try to turn it before that point– you’ll just have a sticking mess. For me this takes about six minutes, but cooking time will vary. When it begins to brown and you can get a spatula underneath it without too much trouble, it’s time to turn it over. Brown the second side to your liking, about another 6-8 minutes. You can check for doneness by cutting in to make sure there is no pink, or use a meat thermometer. I love my thermometer, and always use it. Thickest part of the meat should register 165°-170°F. Remove the chicken from the skillet and cover to keep warm.
Boil a pot of water, and cook two to four ounces of pasta as the package directs, according to how hungry you are. Steam/ cook your broccoli until it is done to your liking. Meanwhile, make the Alfredo sauce:
Set the same skillet you used for the chicken back over medium heat, with all the little browned bits and oil still left in. Add the garlic to the pan, and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the milk and heavy cream, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, whisking, two more minutes. Remove pan from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk just until it’s mixed and smooth. Then add a tablespoonful of the warm cream mixture to the yolk, while whisking constantly. This tempers the yolk, so that it doesn’t just end up a pile of scrambled egg when you add it back into the hot skillet. Once you have the cream mixed into the yolk, pour that little mixture back into the cream sauce in the skillet, again, whisking constantly.
Set the pan back over medium-low heat, add the cheese, and whisk until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened. Adjust the consistency with milk or cream if needed. (I like my sauce thick.) Depending on how hungry you are, you may have enough for a second serving.
Plate up a beautiful dinner for yourself with the pasta on the bottom, then the chicken and broccoli, topped with your silky, creamy, cheesy sauce.
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