Meatless Monday: Penne with Broccoli and Ricotta

Here’s what I knew: I knew I wanted a yummy, healthy, Meatless Monday dinner. I knew I wanted to work out when I got home from work. I knew I wanted to also hang out with my little family when I got home from work. Which meant I knew I had to find something fast and uncomplicated. I also knew I had a whole lotta broccoli in the house. So what’s a girl to do? I modified this recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for a hot minute here and pulled a delicious, light-but-satisfying, shockingly kid-pleasing meal together in 20 minutes! No, seriously. Here you go.

* 2 small (or 1 large) heads of broccoli, cut down into bite-sized florets
* 2T olive oil
* 3t minced garlic
* 1lb whole wheat penne pasta
* 10 large leaves fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for garnish
* 1 15oz pkg part skim or fat free ricotta cheese
* 1t salt (plus pinch or two for salting pasta water)
* 1t lemon pepper
* grated Parmesan cheese for serving
* crushed red pepper flakes (optional)penne_broc_ricotta1

Boil some water, then add the broccoli florets and allow them to boil just briefly, about 2 minutes, to soften just a bit. Remove from pot and place in a bowl to cool slightly.

Boil water to cook your pasta (adding a pinch or two of salt to the water), and cook according to package instructions, to al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, and add the garlic, allowing it to just start to sizzle and fry, slightly browning.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add the broccoli to the pan, and fry with the garlic for just a few minutes.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and then return it to the pot. Add the garlic/broccoli to the pasta, and then mix in the ricotta and freshly chopped basil. If you like a little heat, add in a 1/2t (or more, to your liking) of crushed red pepper flakes here as well.

Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese and a little extra chopped fresh basil. The end.

Besides the impossibly speedy turn-around time, this dish also apparently possesses magical powers that convert a toddler into a lover of broccoli, as evidenced by this submission to the Clean Plate Club:

So now you *have* to make it.

(here again is that original recipe with the zucchini. Find it and more Meatless Monday ideas on my Pinterest board, Yummmmm: Meatless Monday.)

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