Two years ago I tried Olive Garden’s the Chicken Giardino. This “Grilled chicken and a medley of fresh vegetables, tossed with ruffled pappardelle pasta in a light chicken herb sauce” totally hit the spot!

I was delighted to see that Olive Garden actually published the recipe on their website! It has since been taken down. I looked for the original recipe and posted what I could find here: Chicken Giardino – Olive Garden Recipe.

Below is my modified Chicken Giardino recipe that I use. It is a little cheaper, a little easier, and lower calorie than that Olive Garden published. Flavor-wise, the two main changes are that it skips the wine (I don’t drink) and asparagus (expensive.)

Chicken Giardino refrigerates well. I like to make a big 8 or 12 serving batch to share and eat throughout the week.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Vegetables:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 zucchini, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 summer squash, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Grape/Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, blanched*
  • 10 ounces frozen peas
  • 1.5-2 cups fresh spinach, chopped to about 1/2 inch
  • 3/4 cup carrots, matchstick/julienne cut

Chicken:

  • 22 oz bag frozen, Tyson fully cooked diced chicken breast
    (or 2 lb boneless skinless diced chicken breast, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt/pepper to taste)

Pasta:

  • 1 lb bowtie pasta

Topping (optional):

  • Shredded cheese (parmesan or cheddar)
  • Fresh chopped Parsley

Procedures

Chicken Preparation:

If using pre-cooked diced chicken, defrost, and warm.

If using raw diced chicken, cook in 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper and set aside.

Vegetable Preparation:

Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and cook until tender, stirring every few minutes. (It doesn’t take spinach long to cook. Add it last.)

Sauce Preparation:

Dissolve chicken bullion into hot water. Mix in milk and lemon juice. Add cornstarch and whisk until it is dissolved and there are no lumps.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 minute.

Add liquid mixture to saucepan. Whisk together and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat.

Mix in cooked chicken so it can start soaking up the flavor!

Pasta Preparation:

Prepare according to package directions. (Bring water to boil, cook pasta about 11 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain well.)

Once all ingredients are finished cooking:

Put pasta in a large container. Top with the sauce and chicken and vegetables. Mix well, but gently. You don’t want to break the fancy bowties 🙂

Serving

Fix your plate/bowl, top with optional cheese and parsley, and enjoy!

The above recipe makes about 8 small bowls of Chicken Gardiano.

*Tips and Ideas:

  • I blanch the broccoli before cutting. Bring a pan of water to a boil. Dip the crowns in for 1 minute. Transfer to very cold water (or ice water) for a minute to stop the cooking process. Then set aside to drain for a few minutes.
  • I think a can of unsalted corn would go nicely with the veggies.
  • Some people make this recipe even easier with frozen stir-fry veggies!

Leave a Comment