This combination of pasta and Broccolini is tied together with a blend of tangy fresh goat cheese and fruity extra-virgin olive oil for a light but creamy sauce. Olive oil doesn’t just add flavor, it also helps the cheese melt smoothly. Lemony toasted breadcrumbs add a pleasing and crunchy contrast as well as a bright flavor accent. If you can’t find Broccolini, sometimes called “baby broccoli,” substitute an equal weight of broccoli florets.
Don’t use cold goat cheese; it needs to be room temperature to combine with the oil. And don’t boil the pasta until al dente; it should still be very firm when drained, as it will continue cooking in the skillet with the broccolini.
Editor’s note: This recipe comes to us from Milk Street Tuesday Nights, as does Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan) and Braised Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoked Paprika and Garlic (Guisat de Cigrons).
Whole-Wheat Penne with Broccolini and Chèvre
- 12 ounces whole-wheat penne rigate
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 4 ounces chèvre, fresh goat cheese, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges to serve
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 8 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 6 anchovy fillets, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 table- spoons salt, then boil until barely cooked and still quite firm. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, use a fork to mix the goat cheese, 5 tablespoons of the oil, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium, combine 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and the panko. Cook, stirring, until light golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper, then transfer to a small bowl. Let cool, then stir in the lemon zest. Set aside.
- Return the skillet to medium and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, anchovies and pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the Broccolini and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cover and cook until the Broccolini turns bright green, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the cooked pasta and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water. Cook, stirring, until al dente and the Broccolini is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Off heat, add the goat cheese mixture and 1/3 cup of the remaining reserved pasta cooking water. Stir until the pasta is evenly coated, adding more pasta water as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the panko mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.
Used with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York. All rights reserved.