I’ll bet a lot of you are like me and decide what’s for dinner by looking in your fridge or pantry to see what’s on hand. In this case, it was a small head of broccoli and a bag of pasta that got my creative juices flowing. But it wasn’t just any pasta – it was this lemon pasta I bought at Claudio’s in Philadelphia a few months ago. I’ve used it before and it’s really as yellow as this photo and perfect for this dish. It’s available by mail order here.
And what better occasion to pick a lemon from my small lemon tree than for this recipe? This plant, which enjoys warm sunshine and moist sea air during the summer, comes indoors for the winter. I’ve had the plant for a few years and while it bore fruit last year too, I waited too long to pick it because I hated to lose the decorative look of the yellow fruit hanging from the branches. By the time I got around to plucking the lemons last year, they had dried out, a mistake I wasn’t going to make this year.
The sauce comes together quickly while the pasta is cooking, so get the broccoli into the oven and start making the sauce, sautéeing the leek and garlic, then adding wine, lemon rind and lemon juice. Add the pasta to the pan just before it gets to the al dente stage, pouring in a little of the pasta water to help it finish cooking.
When it’s al dente, add a small amount of cream and stir to meld all the flavors together. Don’t worry if the sauce is a little loose. Once you add the parmesan cheese, it will thicken a bit.
When the pasta is cooked, add the roasted broccoli, parmesan cheese and mix well. Serve in a warm bowl so the pasta doesn’t cool down too quickly.
- ½ pound pasta
- a small head of broccoli florets, bottoms peeled
- olive oil, salt and pepper to season the broccoli
- 1 leek, sliced (or one large shallot)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 T. butter
- rind of half a lemon, minced
- ½ cup white wine (or Prosecco)
- juice of half a lemon
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- pasta water
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese (or more to taste)
- Roast the broccoli in a 425 degree oven, smeared with olive oil, salt and pepper, for about 15 minutes.
- Start the pasta to boil while you make the sauce.
- Saute the leek and garlic in the olive oil and butter until softened.
- Add the white wine and cook at high heat until reduced.
- Lower heat and add the juice of half a lemon (or less if using a "lemon" pasta as I did.)
- Cook the pasta until it has about one minute to go, leaving it "al dente" or even a little harder.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pot and finish cooking in the liquid, adding pasta water to continue the cooking.
- When the pasta is fully cooked, but still al dente, add the heavy cream, and stir in the roasted broccoli florets and parmesan cheese.