|Simple Pasta with Broccoli|
Mar 13th, 2006
So from quick weeknight dinners we're moving on to... quick weekend dinners! I think I'm establishing a bit of a pattern here. Usually I end up cooking at least one more complex and/or interesting meal on the weekend, but this week it just wasn't in the cards. On Saturday I chose to do some yoga instead, and Sunday I was just plain tired. By the way, an hour of power yoga followed by a glass of wine on a pretty-close-to-empty stomach makes you feel all sorts of warm and tingly. I highly recommend it. However, it doesn't really make you want to run into the kitchen and get to chopping. Unless that kitchen somehow involves an outdoor cafe someplace sunny with a muted tango wafting over the breeze and another glass of wine....
My kitchen is somehow unequipped with those items, so dinner preparation was a quick affair. Pasta mixed with broccoli, lemon, and garlic is certainly not a new or innovative dish, but it's warm and comforting yet light at the same time. This time I added some feta, which certainly negates the 'light' part calorie-wise, but is awfully tasty.
I like to cook the broccoli in boiling salted water until it's bright green and really tender. Then I drain the pasta and add the broccoli and the pasta back to the still warm pot. A little bit of reserved pasta water and an ounce or so of crumbled feta stirred into the pot helps turn the noodles slippery, and then I throw in the lemon juice from half a lemon, a little lemon zest, and a minced clove of raw garlic. The heat from the pasta tempers the garlic and gets rid of the bite, but it's still stronger than if you had sauteed the garlic in oil, so you don't need a lot. I like to stir and stir and stir so that bits of the broccoli florets break off and adhere to the noodles along with the cheese. Normally I'd add some salt, but my feta was pretty salty so no need, just a chiffonade of basil over the top.
Grate some parmesan to pass at the table, queue up the tango selection on your Ipod (everyone's got one, no?), pour that second glass of wine, and dinner is served!