Jan 29, 2013

How to Boil Water: Pasta with Broccoli with a Ricotta Surprise

I'm a huge fan of Rachael Ray. I watch her show every morning - Addison allowing. I have two of her cookbooks so far and look forward to getting more. I used to watch 30 Minute Meals all the time, and it is one of the meals I miss since getting rid of cable (two years ago).

The point of this?

This recipe comes from one of her books I got for Christmas: Rachael Ray's Book of 10.

Here's What You Need:
Salt
1 pound short-cut pasta, such as penne
1 cup ricotta cheese
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 large head broccoli
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, a couple of generous handfuls, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, plus some to pass at the table

Here's What You Do:
Place a large pot of water with a tight fitting lid over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, add some salt and the pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente.
*Heads Up: You will need to use about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking liquid for the sauce before you drain the pasta.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, salt and a lot of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve the ricotta mixture on the counter top and let it come to room temperature. The flavors of the cheese and lemon will develop as the cheese warms up.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO. Add the sausage and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon into a small bite-size pieces. Really go at breaking the meat up; it will make a big difference in the end. Cook the meat until brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

While the sausage is browning, prepare the broccoli. Cut the broccoli tops into small florets. Remove the fibrous outer layer of the stem (just square it off using your knife), then thinly slice the tender center portion of the stem.

Once the sausage is brown, remove it to a paper-towel-lined plate. Return the skill to the heat and add all of the broccoli and then chopped onion. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer in the pan, season with some salt and pepper, and let the broccoli brown up a bit before stirring, about 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook 2 minutes more.

Add the sausage back to the skillet along with the chicken stock. Ladle in some cooking water from the pasta and bring up to a simmer. Cook until the broccoli is tender and the liquids have reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, parsley, and cooked, well-drained pasta. Toss to combine and simmer 1 minute to allow the pasta to soak in the sauce and flavors. Turn the heat off, add the grated cheese, and toss to combine.

To serve, place a large dollop of the pepper-lemon-ricotta mixture into each of 4 shallow bowls and bury it with hot pasta. Once you are at the table, mix it up with a fork to distribute the ricotta cheese. Serve with extra grated cheese.

  



This meal was pretty good. Too much lemon zest for our taste, but otherwise it was delicious. It was a good all in one meal. Meat, vegetables, pasta. What could be better?

Thanks Rachael for another good meal!


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