Home Dinner Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid rated a 10

Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid rated a 10

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Looking for an easy, weeknight, meatless, family friendly, 30-minute, one-bowl pasta dish?  Look no further because this pasta fits the bill.  This is my weekly go-to pasta because it’s super easy to make, (I could literally make this blindfolded) kid approved and it’s a one-bowl meal. It’s one of those pastas that my kiddos request often (like weekly) and I happily make.  I’ve been making this pasta dish for 10 years and it’s still one of our family faves. This is the pasta that got my kids to first TRY and LOVE broccoli, so there you go…

Zoe often brings the leftovers to school for lunch and I now have to pack a huge container, as all her friends want a forkful. I’ve even had some of her friends ask me if I could pack them a thermos of leftover pasta next time! This pasta is the dinner of choice at all sleepovers.  You have to believe this is good if a bunch of 12 year olds are preferring a bowl of broccoli pasta to pizza!  Come on, give it a try and let me know what your troops think!

Broccoli Lemon Pasta:

recipe from Barefoot Contessa
serves 6

  • 4 broccoli heads or 3 bunches of baby broccoli, chopped – use as much broccoli as you want here, the more the merrier
  • 1 box of your favorite twisty pasta – we like to use cellentani
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground pepper (for the grown ups)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts or toasted walnuts

 I love to prep all my ingredients ahead of time so they’re ready to go when needed.  Wash and chop up the broccoli into small florets, zest the lemon, mince the garlic and squeeze your 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside in small bowls.  

I always put the lemon zest and minced garlic into the same bowl because they both get used together later.  

Get out a small glass measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside.Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil for the pasta. Below are two ways to cook the broccoli.  Pick the one that works best for you.

Steaming: Put your broccoli in a steamer over about and inch of water (or however you steam your broccoli). Put the lid on and steam away.  I like to steam my broccoli while the pasta water is cooking so I get it out of the way.  We like our broccoli to be a bit underdone so it has a bit of a crunch.  You want to make sure not to overcook or undercook it.  Once my broccoli is cooked, I pour it in a bowl and put it aside.

One-pot method: Here’s my new favorite way to cook up the broccoli or baby broccoli. I toss the broccoli in for the last minute of the pasta’s cooking time. So, if the pastas cooking time is 8 minutes, I toss the chopped broccoli in at 7 minutes, and then drain the pasta and broccoli together.

NOTE:  If one minute seems too short then throw it in for the last two minutes.  One minute definitely works for baby broccoli and broccolini.  Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium low heat.   Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.  Pour this mixture into the glass measuring cup (the one the salt is in) and then add in the tablespoon of lemon juice, mix the ingredients together.Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl that the broccoli is in, if you steamed your broccoli, or if you cooked the pasta with the broccoli, then put the drained pasta and broccoli back into the pan you cooked it in.

Add the lemon mixture and toss everything together really well, so all the pasta and broccoli are coated with the lemon mixture.  I top each bowl of pasta off with some freshly shredded parmesan cheese, a few swigs of freshly ground pepper and toasted pine nuts/walnuts.

The pepper adds a bit of flavor and the nuts add a nice nutty and meaty crunch.

The kids rate this dish a 10!  The broccoli tastes amazing as the lemon gives it such a nice flavor and takes away any bitterness.  I can honestly say that I’m not the biggest broccoli fan when it’s just steamed, but I can eat a whole bowl of broccoli when its made this way.  You might even want to make this lemon sauce and just add it to a mess of broccoli one night.

I hope this pasta becomes a family favorite in your house.

Here’s some other easy family favorite pastas to try!

Pasta with pesto and broccolini.

Cheesy baked tortellini.

Spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil. 

 Pasta with lemon, kale and toasted walnuts.

 Green bean and shallot ravioli.

Broccoli Lemon Pasta – Kid rated a 10
Recipe Type: pasta
Author: Marin mama cooks
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
This is an easy, weeknight, meatless, family friendly, 30-minute, one-bowl pasta dish that gets requested weekly at my house. This is the pasta that got my kids to first TRY and LOVE broccoli.
Ingredients
  • 4 broccoli heads or 3 bunches of baby broccoli, chopped – [i]use as much broccoli as you want here, the more the merrier[/i]
  • 1 box of your favorite twisty pasta -[i] we like to use cellentani[/i]
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper (for the grown ups)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts or walnuts
Instructions
  1. Prep all of your ingredients. Wash and chop up the broccoli into small florets, zest the lemon, mince the garlic and squeeze your 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside in small bowls.[i] I always put the lemon zest and minced garlic into the same bowl because they both get used together later. [/i]
  2. Get out a small glass measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and set aside.
  3. Below are two ways to cook the broccoli. Pick the one that works best for you.
  4. [b]Steaming:[/b] Put your broccoli in a steamer over about and inch of water (or however you steam your broccoli). Put the lid on and steam away. I like to steam my broccoli while the pasta water is cooking so I get it out of the way. We like our broccoli to be a bit underdone so it has a bit of a crunch. You want to make sure not to overcook or undercook it. Once my broccoli is cooked, I pour it in a bowl and put it aside.
  5. [b]One-pan method:[/b] Here’s my new favorite way to cook up the broccoli or baby broccoli. I toss the broccoli in for the last minute of the pasta’s cooking time. So, if the pastas cooking time is 8 minutes, I toss the chopped broccoli in at 7 minutes, and then drain the pasta and broccoli together. [i]NOTE: If one minute seems too short then throw it in for the last two minutes.[/i] [i]One minute definitely works for baby broccoli and broccolini.[/i]
  6. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  7. Pour the butter/garlic mixture into the glass measuring cup (the one the salt is in) and then add in the tablespoon of lemon juice, mix the ingredients together.
  8. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl that the broccoli is in, if you steamed your broccoli, or if you cooked the pasta with the broccoli, then put the drained pasta and broccoli back into the pan you cooked it in.
  9. Add the lemon mixture to the pasta, and toss everything together really well, so that all the pasta and broccoli are coated with the lemon mixture.
  10. Serve the pasta up into individual bowls. I make sure that each bowl gets a good amount of broccoli and then I add the pasta.
  11. I top each bowl of pasta off with some freshly shredded parmesan cheese, a few swigs of freshly ground pepper and toasted pine nuts. The pepper adds a bit of flavor and the pine nuts add a nice nutty and meaty crunch.

 

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