I first saw Ina Garten make a similar version of this recipe on the Food Network. She was having a party for kids, and she claimed it was a great way to get them to eat their broccoli. She was right! Not only did my older son eat every bite of pasta and broccoli on his plate, so did my husband! It's a versatile recipe that can be served for lunch or dinner, hot or room temperature, and with a variety of pastas. It's great just as a vegetarian meal, or cooked and diced chicken breast can be added for protein (or for those of us who have major meat-eaters in our families). Recently, I just made the sauce (no broccoli or pine nuts) and poured it over penne pasta. With some hot chicken sausage cut into rounds and added at the end, it became a great meal that my entire family loved!
2 large heads of broccoli
1 lb bow tie (farfalle) pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1-2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts*
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add a handful of kosher salt. Cut off the stems of the broccoli, and chop the heads into individual florets. Add the broccoli florets to the salted, boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove the florets with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
2. Add the bow tie pasta to the same salted, boiling water. Cook according to the package directions, around 11 minutes, or until al dente. Strain the bow ties, and add to the bowl with the broccoli.
3. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and the lemon zest, and saute for 1 minute.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and stir until the salt has dissolved. Pour the sauce over the bow tie pasta and broccoli. Toss well to coat everything. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.
*To toast the pine nuts, place them in a dry saute pan over a low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are slightly brown and fragrant, tossing them in the pan every so often to keep them from burning.