Pasta with Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, & Goat Cheese Crumbles


I am back from two weeks in Michigan, and holiday preparations are in full swing. I decided to put up my Christmas tree and decorate my house for the holidays before I went away and I am very glad that I did so I can now concentrate on finishing up my Christmas shopping and begin my holiday baking. In less than three weeks, my family will start to arrive for the holidays, and being an organized person I want to have everything completed before they arrive. While I am busy wrapping gifts and baking, dinner planning can take a back seat, so during this busy time, I try and prepare quick dishes such as pasta, or pull out my slow cooker and let it do the work. When it comes to making pasta, the options are endless, so I know I can prepare a different pasta every day of the week and never get tired of it. This easy pasta dish can be pulled together in abut a half an hour and is full of flavor and color. This pasta is a meatless dish, making it perfect for “Meatless Mondays,” but if you wanted to, you could add crumbled sausage meat to create a heartier meal for meat lovers, or a drained can of chickpeas. I prefer eating vegetarian at least half my week, and this pasta dish fits the bill.

For the best results, use sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, not the dried ones sold in bags. I like to keep the “sauce” a little chunky, but if you prefer, you can puree the sauce until it is smooth. I chose rotini pasta for this dish as the ridges hold the sauce so well, but farfalle, penne, or rigatoni pasta shapes will all work well. You can also either use the goat cheese crumbles as I include in the recipe or serve the dish hot with a slice of creamy, soft goat cheese on top that you can stir into the pasta. If serving this dish to children, hold the chili flakes, offering them instead at the table to the adults.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2016

Pasta with Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, & Goat Cheese Crumbles

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Pound Rotini Pasta
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes (See Notes Above)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Oil Packed Sun-dried Tomatoes, Drained
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped, Pitted Kalamata Olives
  • 1 1/2 Pounds Broccoli Florets, Chopped Into Bite-sized Pieces
  • 3/4 Cup Goat Cheese Crumbles

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic, chili flakes, salt and pepper, and cook for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant but not brown.
  4. Place the sun-dried tomatoes into a small food processor along with the garlic oil and process until chopped but not completely smooth.
  5. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until the pasta is “al dente”, adding the broccoli to the pot two minutes before the pasta has completely cooked.
  6. Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving a small cup of the pasta water, then return to the pot.
    Add the sun-dried tomato sauce to the pot, along with the olives, and a spoonful or two of the pasta water.
  7. Place the pot over high heat, stirring continuously to mix, adding in a little more pasta water if the pasta seems dry.
  8. Serve in individual bowls, topped with the goat cheese crumbles.