Here is my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights. Be sure to visit Ruth at Once Upon a Feast on Friday and check out all the great pasta meals listed.
I found this recipe, Broccoli-Ricotta Pasta Toss, for my entry and decided to give it a try. I made a few changes for what I had on hand so this is my adapted version.
Broccoli Ricotta Pasta Toss
1 pound small cut pasta such as ziti or penne
16 oz. broccoli florets
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup pasta water
Put a large pot of water on to boil. In the mean time, prepare broccoli and garlic. Add pasta to the water when it boils. In the last 3-4 minutes of cooking time for the pasta, add the broccoli and garlic to the pot with the pasta. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta, broccoli and garlic to pot. Toss with olive oil. Stir in ricotta cheese with 1/2 cup of the pasta water, mix until creamy. Add in lemon juice, oregano and more pasta water if needed. Serve with pine nuts and cheese at the table.
What I really liked about this recipe is the ease of preparation with using the same pot to boil the pasta and cook the broccoli. The other two tips I found in the original recipe were in that using the ricotta cheese and pasta water, you can have a really quick and simple creamy sauce for the pasta and broccoli. Boiling the garlic reduces the powerful flavors enough to give it taste but not overpower the dish. In the original recipe basil was called for along with the zest of a lemon and juice from the whole lemon.I didn’t have fresh basil so I used up the last of my fresh oregano. I was also out of lemons so I used a little bit of bottled lemon juice. I didn’t even taste the lemon juice so next time I will plan ahead and have lemons for this. We all liked the dish and I served it with Italian sausage links. Trust me, you will enjoy this for two reasons-the flavors and the fact that you can fix it in under 30 minutes. Great for those nights you are tired and need a quick meal.
Note: to make this a healthier recipe, like the original, use whole wheat pasta, low-fat ricotta, skip the nuts and Parmesan cheese