Penne with Broccoli

Dr. O is away on a business trip, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to do another short “cooking for one” series. When I’m away, I know Dr. O is a frequent Chipotle visitor. When he’s away, though, I really enjoy cooking for myself. To paraphrase a cheesy L’Oreal line, it makes me feel like I’m worth it. šŸ™‚ My first “cooking for one” dish this time is Penne with Broccoli from the November 2006 issue of Everyday Food. It’s a simple, delicious recipe, and it only took 20 minutes from start to finish.

First, I set aside 1/4 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese. (It’s supposed to be room temperature when the dish is served, so setting it aside at the beginning makes great sense.) Next, I set a medium saucepan of salted water over high heat. While I waited for the water to boil, I cut 1 cup of florets from a head of broccoli, sliced 1/2 of a small red onion into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and thinly sliced 1 garlic clove.

Once the water reached a boil, I added 3/4 cup of penne and set my cooking time according to the pasta package directions (13 minutes). At the 11-minute mark, I added the broccoli florets to the pot. When the final 2 minutes had passed, I drained the cooked pasta and broccoli, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. I set the pasta and broccoli aside.

In the same saucepan, I heated 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. I added the onion and garlic and cooked, stirring constantly, until the onion was tender and lightly browned (5 minutes). I added small amounts of pasta water periodically to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

To finish the dish, I put the pasta and broccoli back into the saucepan, seasoned with salt and pepper, and stirred the mixture until heated through. I transferred the pasta to a serving dish, topped it with the ricotta, and seasoned again with salt and pepper.

Penne with Broccoli

This was so, so delicious. I dipped my fork into the ricotta for each bite, but you could stir everything together if you prefer. I think the red onion was my favorite part… It was slightly sweet and really flavorful. Yum!

TIPS: Watch your salt on this dish. Between salting the pasta water and seasoning before and after the ricotta, it could be easy to overdo it. Taste as you go.

Also, this dish would be super easy to serve to 2 or 4 people. Just upgrade to a larger saucepan, if necessary, and multiply the ingredients accordingly.

Recipe link: Penne with Broccoli

2 Responses to “Penne with Broccoli”


  1. 1 andrewsco June 8, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Thought I would drop you a note as this tasted fantastic! I think a lot is in the quality of the cheese, so make sure you get some good quality ricotta. Great recipe.

  2. 2 jfochek June 8, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Terrific point! Not only will quality ricotta taste better, but it tends to be creamy even though it’s lower in fat, not watery. Thanks for your comment!


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