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Baked Chicken Parm over Pasta with Olives + Broccoli Rabe

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
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Why we love it:

We love broccoli rabe’s bitter, acidic taste but it is acquired. If you aren’t a fan - broccolini or a leafy crown of regular broccoli works just fine. For this light sauce, we prefer a twisty shaped pasta to help pick up the flavors. Leftover chicken breasts are amazing on a toasted, garlic rubbed roll.


  • 1 package Rotelli Pasta (any pasta will work - but we like twisty for this dish)
  • 114 pounds Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless)
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano (or Italian seasoning)
  • 1 15-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes (or diced - we will use 1/2 can for this recipe)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced and divided)
  • 1 cup Fresh Mozzarella
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 12 Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 bunch Broccoli Rabe (washed)
  • 1 cup Kalamata Olives (pitted)
  • 12 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated - plus more to taste)
  • 1 Lemon

Cooking Instructions


    Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough salt to make it “salty like the sea” - at least a Tablespoon or two.

    Boil pasta to al dente, according to package instructions.

    When the pasta is done - carefully scoop out 1 1/2 cups of the boiling liquid and set aside before draining the pasta.

    The hot pasta can wait in the colander (don’t rinse it!) until you’re ready for it. Return the pot to the stove for later, no need to wash it first.

  • 2. CHICKEN

    Heat oven to high broil. Are your chicken breasts huge? For 1 ¼ chicken, you should have 4 pieces. If you have fewer than that and 4 diners, cut one in half, mimicking the natural shape of the breast - cut it on a bit of an angle into 2 pieces.

    Place chicken on a lined baking sheet, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or italian seasoning) on both top and bottom. Evenly spread chicken out on the pan.

    Place chicken on the lowest rack in the oven and cook for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, open the can of tomatoes and measure out about ½ of the can into a small bowl. Stir in ¼ tsp salt, pinch of black pepper and ½ of the of minced garlic.

    Slice the mozzarella into ¼” thick slabs. After 8 minutes, pull the chicken out of the oven and spoon the sauce over top – we like to keep it a little thicker in the center so you can see the edges of the meat, but you could also use the completely smothered with sauce method.

    Top each piece with as much mozzarella you like. Return to the oven on the top rack this time, and broil until the chicken is cooked through and cheese is browned and bubbly - about 4-6 more minutes. Keep your eye on it though!

  • 3. PASTA

    While the chicken is cooking, let’s finish the pasta. In the pan you cooked the pasta in, add 3 Tablespoons olive oil and turn on to medium heat.

    Slice your onion half into thin rings, thin as you can go. Add them to the pot with the reserved clove of minced garlic and add a pinch of salt, stir.

    Wash the broccoli rabe. Unless it’s from a farmer’s market or really dirty, you can most likely leave the band around the bunch while you wash it under cold water. Shake a bit to dry, but some clinging water is actually good!

    Trim off the bottoms of the stems. Cut in 3” long pieces - probably 2 or 3 cuts for the entire bunch. Open and drain the olives. When the onions look soft and just lightly golden, add the broccoli rabe and stir with tongs or a spatula.
    Within about 3 minutes, the leaves will look wilted and bright. At this time, add the pasta back to the pot and toss to coat.

    Add in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water, ¼ tsp of salt, the olives and zest your lemon over the pot then add the lemon juice as well. Bring to a boil, and stir while the water cooks off a bit. You should be able to see it thicken up.
    After about 1-2 minutes of boiling, taste it - does it need more salt? pepper? - turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese in (reserving just a little spoonful to garnish the plate). Toss to coat.

  • 4. PLATING

    Serve a big delicious pile of pasta in the center of each plate and top with a chicken breast. Sprinkle a little parmesan over everything to serve.

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    your favorite GF pasta works well here, just follow the package instructions. Cooked and shredded spaghetti squash, cooked quinoa or lentils also would taste great!
    use a dairy free cheese or ricotta style cheese to dollop on top. OR sprinkle the tops of the chicken with a mixture of 1 Tbsp bread crumbs and 1 tsp nutritional yeast for a pretty topping that has a cheesy taste.
    use a melty non-cow dairy cheese for the top of the chicken like a fresh chevre, Petite Basque. OR - look specifically for Buffalo mozzarella which isn’t made from cow’s milk. Use Pecorino Romano for parmesan.
  • PALEO:
    double the broccoli and don’t serve pasta. Or use cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta.
    just omit them if you aren’t a fan
Rate this recipe:
2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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