Broccoli Ricotta Sauce over Whole Wheat Pasta

Despite my efforts to photograph this healthy broccoli recipe in an appetizing light, it is truly a great tasting dish.  My 11-year old son, who happens to like broccoli, practically inhaled his first bowl then went back for seconds.  We were surprised by the creaminess of the broccoli ricotta sauce.  It doesn't look smooth, but it is.  I grooved on the zesty flavors of the garlic, lemon and Parmesan coming through the broccoli and ricotta.  I couldn't shovel it in my pie hole fast enough.  Seriously, I made a pig of myself.  Thank goodness it was SO HEALTHY.

HERE'S ALL IT TAKES

makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 large broccoli crowns with stems
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • 16 ounces uncooked whole wheat penne pasta

Chop the broccoli florets into the 2-inch pieces.  Chop the stems into 1-inch cuts. Fill a 5-quart pot half full with water, bring to a boil.  Add broccoli stems to boiling water, cook for 5 minutes.  Add in florets and boil for 4 to 5 minutes, until fork tender. Be careful not to overcook.  Use a slotted spoon to remove broccoli and drain in colander.

Add enough water back to the 5-quart pot to fill it 2/3 full.  Bring water back to a boil.  Use this water to cook the whole wheat pasta according to the maker's directions.  Drain pasta and transfer to large serving bowl.

While the pasta is cooking...

Get out the food processor, put in the broccoli, basil, garlic, half the lemon juice, half the Parmesan, and all the ricotta.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Scrape down the sides to ensure an even texture.  Taste check for the lemon and Parmesan, add the remaining amounts if it suits your taste.  Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the creamy broccoli sauce over the pasta in the serving bowl.  Give it a good toss. Add a little more Parmesan on top for garnish and serve it up.

Broccoli Ricotta Sauce over Whole Wheat Pasta tastes even better with garlic bread and pepperoncini peppers served on the side.  Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

This recipe was adapted from the Broccoli Pesto Pasta recipe found in The Happy Herbivore cookbook.