Looking for an easy, family friendly, one-bowl pasta dish? Look no further because this pasta fits the bill. This is my weekly go-to pasta because it’s super easy to make (I could literally make this blindfolded) and it’s a one-bowl meal. It’s one of those pastas that my kids request often and I happily make. It’s our family’s favorite comfort food.
Zoe often brings the leftovers to school for lunch and I now have to pack a huge container as all her friends all want a forkful. This pasta is the dinner of choice at all sleepovers. You have to believe this is good if a bunch of 12 year olds are preferring a bowl of broccoli pasta to pizza!
Broccoli Lemon Pasta:
recipe from Barefoot Contessa
- 4 broccoli heads or 3 bunches of baby broccoli – use as much broccoli as you want here, the more the merrier
- 1 box of your favorite twisty pasta – we like to use cellentani
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- freshly ground pepper (for the grown ups)
- 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts or toasted walnuts
I love to prep all my ingredients ahead of time so they are ready to go when needed. Wash and chop up the broccoli into small florets, zest the lemon, mince the garlic and squeeze your 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside in small bowls. I put the lemon zest and minced garlic into the same bowl because they both get used together later. Get out a small glass measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil for the pasta. Below are two ways to cook the broccoli. Pick the one that works best for you.
Put your broccoli in a steamer over about and inch of water (or however you steam your broccoli). Put the lid on and steam away. I like to steam my broccoli while the pasta water is cooking so I get it out of the way. We like our broccoli to be a bit underdone so it has a bit of a crunch. You want to make sure not to overcook or undercook it. Once my broccoli is cooked, I pour it in a bowl and put it aside.
Here’s my new favorite way to cook up the broccoli or baby broccoli. I throw the broccoli in for the last minute of the pasta’s cooking time. So, if the pasta cooks for 8 minutes, I throw the broccoli in at 7 minutes and then drain the pasta and broccoli together. NOTE: If one minute seems too short then throw it in for the last two minutes. One minute definitely works for baby broccoli and broccolini. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute. Pour this mixture into the glass measuring cup (the one the salt is in) and then add in the tablespoon of lemon juice, mix the ingredients together.Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl that the broccoli is in. Add the lemon mixture (see above) and mix everything up together really well so all the pasta and broccoli is coated with the lemon mixture. Serve the pasta up into individual bowls. I make sure that each bowl gets a good amount of broccoli and then I add the pasta. I top the kids pasta off with some freshly shredded parmesan and I add freshly ground pepper and toasted pine nuts to John’s & my bowl. The pepper just adds a bit of flavor and the pine nuts add a nice nutty almost meaty sort of crunch.
The kids rate this dish a 10! The broccoli tastes amazing as the lemon gives it such a nice flavor and takes away the bitterness. I can honestly say that I’m not the biggest broccoli fan when it’s just steamed, but I can eat a whole bowl of broccoli when its made this way. You might even want to make this lemon sauce and just add it to a mess of broccoli one night.
I hope this pasta becomes a family favorite in your house.