Asiago Garlic Baked Penne

Serves 6. Prep time: 20 minutes active; 1 hour total.

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 pinches coarse salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cloves garlic, cut in half
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups whole wheat penne pasta, uncooked
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese


Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Scatter halved garlic cloves in pan and stir, then add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a 9x13 pan, and pour the fat and garlic from the skillet into a cup to cool slightly, then pour the cooled fat through a wire strainer into another cup to remove the garlic; reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat. Sprinkle the garlic, broccoli and cooked penne over the chicken in the baking pan.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the strained fat. Off the heat, sprinkle the flour over the fat in the pan and whisk to mix well. Place over low heat and stir until the flour bubbles. Take off the heat again, and gradually whisk in the broth, making sure the mixture is smooth before adding the next ingredient. Add the basil and whisk in the half and half and salt. Over medium heat, whisk constantly until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Cook briefly, turn off the heat and whisk in the cheese, stirring just until cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Pour over the chicken and pasta, covering it completely.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the thickest part of the thighs registers 160 degrees F. on an instant read thermometer. Serve hot.

Tips: Keep a bag of frozen ravioli handy and you can have a delicious dinner on the table in minutes. Made with meat- or cheese-filled ravioli and sliced deli ham from the co-op, this dish will be fast and flavorful either way. Serve with a green salad or steamed veggies for a complete meal.