Slow-Cooker Penne with Chicken and Broccolini

Why This Recipe Works

With its enticing combination of moist chicken, fresh broccolini, and sweet red bell pepper, this rich sauce pairs perfectly with whole-wheat penne. We chose bone-in chicken breasts, which stayed moist throughout the cooking time and also added a deep chicken flavor to the sauce. To build the base, we microwaved the aromatics—onion and garlic—along with oregano, red pepper flakes, and a little olive oil. Then we added the chicken broth and the chicken. For a little more depth and brightness, we added a splash of white wine. And to thicken the sauce enough to coat the pasta properly, we simply added a little tapioca at the outset. As this flavorful base simmered with the chicken, it took on a deep, complex flavor. Once the chicken was tender, we removed it from the slow cooker, let it rest briefly, then shredded it into bite-size pieces. Meanwhile, we microwaved the broccolini and then added it and some grated Parmesan to the sauce along with the chicken for a bright, fresh, and healthy pasta dinner.


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1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons instant tapioca
Salt and pepper
2 (12-ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, skin removed, trimmed of all visible fat
12 ounces broccolini, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup), plus extra for serving
1 pound whole-wheat penne
Nutritional Information


Per Serving (Serves 6)

  • Calories 590
  • Cholesterol 66 mg
  • Fat 17 g
  • Sodium 918 mg
  • Saturated 5 g
  • Carbs 72 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Monounsaturated 8 g
  • Sugar 4 g
  • Polyunsaturated 2 g
  • Protein 38 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Serves 6

1. Microwave onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon oil, oregano, and pepper flakes in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Stir in broth, bell pepper, wine, tapioca, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Nestle chicken into slow cooker, cover, and cook until chicken is tender, 3 to 4 hours on low.

2. Transfer chicken to carving board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks; discard bones.

3. Microwave broccolini and 1 tablespoon water in covered bowl, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain broccolini, then stir into sauce along with shredded chicken, Parmesan, and remaining 5 teaspoons oil. Let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes.

4. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add sauce and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Serve with extra Parmesan.