Ziti With Broccoli And Toasted Pine Nuts
1 pound (about 6 cups) broccoli florets
12 ounces dried ziti pasta or other similarly shaped pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons mascarpone (optional; may substitute full-fat Greek yogurt)
4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) crumbled blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 cups pine nuts, toasted (may substitute toasted chopped almonds or walnuts)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes until it's bright green and crisp-tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli to a colander, and rinse with cold water to help set its color. Drain again and coarsely chop.
Return the water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, for 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the butter and garlic in a large skillet. Place over medium heat and cook until the garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chopped broccoli; cover and cook until the broccoli is very soft, yielding easily to a wooden spoon, 4 to 5 minutes. (The garlic will be very soft, too.) Stir in the mascarpone, if using, and the blue cheese, until the cheese melts. Stir in the pepper and toasted pine nuts. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup or so of its cooking water, and transfer the pasta immediately into the pan with the broccoli and cheese. Stir to combine thoroughly, adding some of the pasta water, ¼ cup at a time, as needed to create a creamy sauce that coats the ziti.
Divide among bowls and top with some Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired.
Note: Toast the pine nuts in a large, dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid scorching. Cool completely before using.
Serves 4 to 6
Nutrition (based on 6 servings) | Calories: 530; Total Fat: 31 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 30 mg; Sodium: 300 mg; Carbohydrates: 50 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 18 g.
(Adapted from "The Way to Eat Now: Modern Vegetarian Food" by Alice Hart. The Experiment, 2019.)