When I was young, my Italian Nana would often make a recipe for me that I loved. Long strands of twisted fusilli pasta with broccoli cooked in the same pot until it was so soft it nearly fell apart when I ate it. The salted water with the broccoli and pasta would develop a lovely brothy flavor which would be ladled into the bowl with the rest and then topped with some grated Romano cheese. It was delicious and to this day I still dream of it. Here I’ve cooked the fusilli and broccoli a bit more al dente, although the broccoli still is quite tender, and I added a creamy light ricotta “sauce”. Eating this now reminds me of my Nana. As the say in Italy, Buon Appetito!
Fusilli con Broccoli with Creamy Ricotta Sauce
Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
1 pound pasta – fusilli or other shape, orecchiettie is also good
1 cup Ricotta cheese
Handful of chopped Parsley or Basil
Grated Romano cheese
Grated Ricotta Salata cheese
Zest of ½ Lemon
3 cloves Garlic – chopped
Hot Red Pepper Flakes or Black Pepper
1 bunch of Broccoli florets, cut to bite size pieces
Cook pasta until al dente in salted water, making sure to reserve some of the cooking liquid for the sauce. During the last 2 minutes, add the chopped Broccoli to the pot and stir around.
While the pasta cooks, in a small saucepan add the chopped garlic, a pinch of salt and olive oil to cover. Warm over low heat, to infuse the oil with garlic flavor and gently cook the garlic. – this step is optional and can be skipped if you’re not a huge fan of garlic, but I think it adds a great extra layer of flavor to the finished dish.
Also, while the pasta cooks, to a large serving bowl add Ricotta, Parsley or Basil, grated cheeses and Lemon Zest. Mix together.
Add the cooked Pasta and Broccoli to the Ricotta mixture adding in some reserved pasta liquid a little bit at a time, until the sauce is the consistency you like. Pour the infused Olive Oil and Garlic over the Pasta and top with a bit of Red Pepper flakes or ground Black Pepper, whichever you prefer. Finish with a little extra grated Cheese if you like. Serve warm and Enjoy!
Recipe Notes: I love the lemon zest in this sauce but if you’re not a fan, feel free to skip it. In it’s absence I would add a little nutmeg.