Chicken Broccoli Rigatoni in White Wine Sauce

When my husband asked last month what I wanted for my birthday dinner, I immediately picked this dish. There’s something so cozy about a bowl of warm pasta on a cold winter night. And this pasta? My absolute favorite. No contest.

Pasta on plate

I first had a version of this dish forever ago at an Italian restaurant in Boston called Vinny Testa’s, which was a local chain of restaurants that’s now defunct. From the first bite I was hooked.

Bowl on Pasta

After eating it that first time, I started making my own version at home. I’m a self-professed carb junkie so pasta is heaven. This dish is made with rigatoni, a pasta hearty enough to take a thicker sauce and with lots ridges that lets it get coated in tons of yummy sauce.

And the sauce? So freaking addictive. I could eat it with a spoon. Not that I’ve ever tried . . . . The sauce includes white wine (yes please) and cheddar cheese (cheese is life) but what really puts it over the top is the inclusion of roasted garlic.

Roasting garlic is super simple. I generally do it in the oven (see below for instructions), but you can also do it in some oil on the stovetop. The benefit of the stovetop method is that you end up with roasted garlic and a garlic-infused olive oil to be used later.

If you have haven’t roasted garlic at home before, pretty please try. Why? Because it’s delicious both on its own (you can spread over a nice crusty piece of bread) or in your cooking. Roasting garlic both mellows and richens its flavor. If food were music, then roasted garlic would be the perfect background note.

Roasted garlic in foil

I even recommend trying if you think you don’t like garlic, because the taste is sweeter and more subtle. It takes away the sharpness garlic has in other forms if that makes sense.

This dish has more steps than I usually go in for, but with the exception of roasting the garlic, it’s straightforward and relatively quick to make.

First, you cook the pasta and the broccoli in the same pot.

Broccoli in pot

Then you flour (I used a ziplock bag for this) and cook the chicken in a large skillet. Since you’ll be adding the rest of the ingredients to the skillet at the end, and it’s best not to crowd the chicken while it cooks, the larger skillet the better.

Chicken cooking in skillet

Lastly, you prepare the sauce in the same skillet where you cooked the chicken. Use a good dry white wine, a really sharp white cheddar, some chicken stock and that roasted garlic and you’ve got one plate-lickingly good sauce. Not that I’ve ever actually licked my plate . . . .

Grated Cheddar Cheese

Combine the chicken, broccoli, rigatoni and sauce in the skillet and you’ve got one super tasty dish. If you want to take it to the next level, top it with a few shavings of parmesan when plating. Then dig in and the send the leftovers my way.

Pasta on Plate
Pasta on plate

Chicken Broccoli Rigatoni in White Wine Cheddar Sauce

  • Author: closeenoughcook
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x


Of all the comfort foods I make, this one is my favorite (and that’s saying a lot).  In this dish the star is the sauce which is made from  three of my favorite ingredients — white wine, sharp cheddar cheese, and garlic.  The key is that the garlic is roasted, giving a more subtle flavor to the sauce.  With this sauce coating tender chicken, tender crisp broccoli and al dente rigatoni you get one amazing dish.



1 lb. Rigatoni

5 tbsp butter

One head of garlic, roasted

1/4 cup + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock

2 crowns of broccoli, cut into florets

1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breast, cubed

3 oz. extra sharp white cheddar, grated

1 cup pasta water reserved

Parmesan shavings for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut off top of a head of garlic so that each clove is exposed
  3. Place garlic in tinfoil and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil
  4. Loosely wrap garlic and place in oven.  Roast for approximately 35 minutes or until garlic cloves are lightly brown and tender. 
  5. Once garlic is roasted, open foil and allow garlic to sit until cool enough to handle.  Using a fork remove each clove from the head of garlic and place in a small bowl.  Use the fork, to mash roasted garlic into a paste.
  6. While garlic is roasting, fill a large pot 2/3 full with water and one teaspoon salt. Heat water over medium-high heat until water is boiling. 
  7.  Once water is boiling, add rigatoni and cook, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli florets to pot for the last five minutes of cooking.  Cover broccoli and rigatoni and cook until broccoli is bright in color and rigatoni is al dente.  Reduce heat as needed to prevent pot from boiling over when covered. 
  8. Once pasta and broccoli have finished cooking, drain in colander, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
  9. While pasta and broccoli cook, place large skillet on stove over medium high heat. Place 2 tbsp. of butter in skillet and heat until butter melts.
  10. While butter is melting, salt and pepper cubed chicken and place in a large ziplock bag with 1/4 cup flour.  Seal and shake bag to coat chicken in flour.
  11. Place chicken in skillet and cook until chicken is cooked through and begins to brown.  When removing chicken pieces from ziplock bag gently shake them to remove any excess flour. Once all chicken has been remove there’s likely to be excess flour remaining in ziplock bag.
  12. After chicken has cooked, remove from skillet and add remaining butter.  
  13. When butter has melted, add remaining flour.  Mix flour and butter together and cook for one minute.
  14. Add white wine and deglaze skillet, stirring to incorporate any remaining chicken fond.
  15. Add chicken stock and garlic paste to skillet, stirring until no lumps of flour remain.  Cover and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.  
  16. Remove from heat, add grated cheese to sauce and stir to incorporate.  Salt and pepper sauce as needed. 
  17. Add chicken, broccoli and pasta to sauce and stir to coat.  If sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup pasta water at a time until sauce is desire consistency. 
  18. Garnish with parmesan shaving, if using, and serve.

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