Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spaghetti with broccoli, walnuts and ricotta

With broccoli being one of my favorite vegetables, it was no surprise that I was drawn to this recipe.  I always find something delicious when I browse through this cookbook by Ross Dobson.  That fact that it only requires a few ingredients and goes together quickly, makes it even more of a hit.
Having succeeded in my first attempt with homemade ricotta and there being broccoli in the garden that needed to be used, this was the perfect choice for dinner.
Spaghetti with broccoli, walnuts and ricotta
2/3 C walnut halves
1 head of broccoli, about 1 lb
3 Tb olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
7 oz fresh ricotta cheese
14 oz spaghetti
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spread the walnuts out on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for about 8 minutes, shaking the sheet occasionally, until they start to brown.
To prepare the broccoli, trim off about 1 inch from the stem end, and discard.  Thinly slice the stem until you reach the point where it starts to branch into florets.  Slice off the individual florets.  Heat the oil in a skillet, add the stems, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, turning often, then add the florets and cook for 5 minutes until the broccoli has softened.  Add the garlic, parsley, lemon zest, and walnuts and cook for  another 5 minutes, stirring often.  Reduce the heat to medium and stir through the ricotta and lemon juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and leave in the skillet to keep warm. 
Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions.  Drain well and return it to the warm pan with the sauce.  Stir gently to combine and serve immediately.
Notes:  I cooked the pasta first, so that everything was ready to go when the sauce was done.  My microwave has a setting for toasting nuts, check to see if yours does.  I hope you enjoy these great fresh flavors as much as I did.

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