Let me know if you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes
2 small bunches of broccoli (about 700 g), stalks off and florets cut into small pieces
350 g penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely diced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced through garlic press
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups low-salt chicken stock
1 cup thickened cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
750 g chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup dry white wine
500 g mozzarella, shredded
220 g jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped into pieces
3/4 cup bread crumbs (store-bought or make your own)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Lightly grease a 22x33cm baking dish and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F) degrees and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in one tablespoon salt and pop in the broccoli. Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven while baking). Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave it in the colander and set it aside.
Wipe the pot dry. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds) stirring constantly. Add the flour, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth, cream and wine; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and about 3/4 of mozzarella.
Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle first with remaining mozzarella and then with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.