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Creamy Pasta with Broccoli

Feel free to cut this recipe in half to make a smaller portion for your family. (Or make the full batch and enjoy the leftovers!)
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 309kcal

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta
  • 16 ounces broccoli florets (about 2 small heads)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions, using a very large pot. Add the broccoli for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  • Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander. Return to the pot. Toss with the butter.
  • Meanwhile, add the ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup cold water to blender. Blend smooth.
  • Add the cheese mixture to the pot with the pasta and broccoli. Use a spatula to toss the pasta until coated, adding a little of the reserved pasta water at a time until a smooth, but thick sauce forms.
  • Transfer pasta to a large bowl and top with additional cheese to serve—if desired.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat to serve, stirring in a little of the reserved pasta water, regular water, or broth if needed.

Notes

  • Ladle out some of the pasta water before you drain so you have it set aside and ready to use.
  • Use whichever type of pasta your family prefers.
  • If using gluten-free pasta, you can use stock or broth instead of pasta water to smooth out the sauce.
  • Save any remaining pasta cooking water to add moisture when reheating the pasta.
  • To use frozen broccoli instead of fresh, add it to the pasta cooking pot for just the final minute of cooking.
  • This does taste lemony so you may want to reduce the amount of lemon juice slightly if that flavor is new to your kids.
  • Use cottage cheese instead of ricotta if preferred.

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 532IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 1mg