Broccoli and Pasta Skillet is a healthy, easy-to-make, and delicious recipe which provides the best of two very different worlds. It has a particularly light, elegant flavor, yet makes for a hearty and satisfying meal. And if you’re not a big fan of kitchen clean-up, this is the dish for you – you do everything, including cook the pasta, in one skillet! You can use any type of whole wheat or multigrain pasta you like – linguine, shells and spirals all work well – but our personal favorite is good, old-fashioned spaghetti. Getting a nice bite of broccoli wrapped in a thick twirl of thin pasta is surely one of life’s great pleasures.
This Italian specialty would typically be made by using a dry white wine in the cooking sauce, but we’ve found that this doesn’t add much to the finished dish except some extra calories, and may well involve making an extra trip to the store. A very satisfactory alternative to dry white wine in this type of recipe is roughly three parts water to one part apple cider vinegar, which is inexpensive, flavorful, and good for you, to boot.
Speaking of flavor, this recipe is excellent when made using frozen broccoli, but if you really feel like pulling out the stops, use fresh broccoli. Fresh broccoli usually costs slightly more than frozen broccoli, but only slightly. Frozen broccoli has the advantage of being pre-cut, so if you’re short on time, or the inclination to chop vegetables (no worries, it happens to the best of us), frozen is the obvious choice. But if you feel like treating yourself to the earthy, slightly nutty flavor and incomparable crunch of fresh broccoli, go ahead with your bad self.
Broccoli and Pasta Skillet For Three (or two if you’re really hungry)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound broccoli florets, either fresh or frozen
2 teaspoons garlic powder (three if you’re a flavor adventurer)
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (two if you crave some heat)
1/2 a box of your favorite whole wheat or multigrain pasta
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup water plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet. Don’t put the lid on yet, but keep it handy. Stir in the broccoli and the spices, sauteing them together for about five minutes.
Add the water and pasta to the pan. Don’t worry if it all seems very hard to combine – the past with soften shortly, and you’ll be able to stir everything together thoroughly. Bring the liquid to a simmering boil while pushing the pasta around in the pan to keep it from sticking.
Once you’ve got a good simmer going, cover the skillet and let the pasta absorb the liquid. This will happen rather quickly, so stir the pasta often and test it frequently for doneness. When the pasta is nearly cooked, stir in the water/apple cider vinegar mixture. Continue to simmer without the lid. When the pasta is cooked through and most of the liquid has been absorbed, take the skillet off of the heat. Toss the finished pasta with a little salt and the Parmesan cheese before grabbing a fork and digging in. For a more formal dining experience, serve on plates.