Pasta with Broccoli and Ricotta
I am not going to lie, broccoli is not my favorite food. For the most part of my life I have been avoiding it as it was poisonous. I consider myself being far from picky but broccoli somehow never made it to the top of my most loved foods. On the contrary, it used to be at the very bottom. It wasn’t until few months ago that I finally decided to face my demon. I made a stir fry with broccoli. I took a first bite, then second and realized that there was nothing to be worried about. Seriously it didn’t taste bad and it had a nice firm texture. That’s when I realized that it’s not the broccoli that I don’t like but the methods of cooking it. Most of the time I ate it boiled or steamed and even though steamed broccoli is super healthy, I just can’t stand the taste. Somehow stir fried or sauted broccoli has more appetizing texture and flavor.
Now I eat broccoli every now and then. Not that it became my favorite food all of the sudden, but due to its health benefits I try to include it into my diet. One of the best ways to eat broccoli is to add it to your pasta or mac & cheese. When it’s combined with other flavors and creamy sauces, it becomes a pleasant experience for the palate. I made a simple pasta with creamy ricotta and broccoli but if you want it to be even more substantial, you can add tofu or vegetarian sausage and if you’re not vegetarian, chicken breast will be a perfect fit.
Have any of you watched Food Network Iron Chef America about two weeks ago? There was a battle between a vegetarian chef and one of the Food Network stars. The main ingredient was broccoli. You should have seen faces of those poor contestants when they saw what a surprise dis the show producers prepare for them. Why didn’t they choose something versatile like tomatoes or tasty like zucchini? It had to be one of the hardest challenges in the history of Iron Chef America but I think that both, Chef Morimoto and chef Amanda Cohen did more than well. As usually the dishes were out of this world and judges extremely harsh. Chef Morimoto won although in my opinion chef Cohen dishes were a bit more inventive, but it’s just my subjective opinion and you can’t really decide unless you taste all the meals that were prepared.
Ingredients (makes 3 servings):
2 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta such as penne
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 diced shallot
1 minced garlic
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 Tbsp olive oil
Parmesan to sprinkle on a top
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile saute the shallot on 1 Tbsp of olive oil for about a minute.
Add garlic, pepper flakes and broccoli. Add 1/2 cup water from boiling pasta, season with salt and cover. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Nutrition Fcats in 1 portion (whole pasta yields 3 portions):
Kilocalories 424.37 kcal, Protein 21.54 g, Carbohydrate 62.44 g
Total 12.2 g, Saturated Fat 4.87 g, Monounsaturated Fat 5.33 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g, Cholesterol 25.42 mg
Dietary Fiber 7.39 g, Sugar 4.2 g
Vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin C 54.91 mg, Vitamin A (IU) 811.83 IU, Calcium 283.3 mg, Iron 3.49 mg, Sodium 129.41 mg