Romanesco Broccoli Rotini

Fresh herbs and lemon brighten this whole wheat pasta dish, while a sauce with sautéed capers brings a savory bite. Sun dried tomatoes add some sweetness to the Romanesco broccoli and red pepper flakes finish it all off a hint of heat. This recipe comes to us from Annika of Eating with Meaning.

Serves 4

  • 2 heads Romanesco broccoli*, cut into florets2 cups whole wheat rotini
  • a little extra-virgin olive oil, for preparing the pan1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup asiago or parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated

*Romanesco broccoli is a green variety of cauliflower found in the produce sections of some grocery stores or farmer’s markets. Traditional broccoli or cauliflower can be used if Romanesco broccoli is not available.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a separate large bowl with ice water.

Add the broccoli or cauliflower to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the florets are just tender, but have retained a slight bite. Remove the florets with a slotted spoon and immediately place in the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Keep the broccoli cooking water boiling on the stove.

After 1 minute in the ice water, place the cooked florets on a bed of paper towels to drain.

Add the whole wheat rotini to the boiling water used to cook the broccoli and cook according to package instructions, or until the pasta is cooked al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, place a little olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and capers and cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic begins to become fragrant.

Add the blanched florets and sun dried tomatoes to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli has warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove the pan from heat.

When the pasta is al dente, drain it, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta’s cooking water. Return the cooked pasta to the pot and stir in the broccoli tomato mixture.

Add the lemon juice, mint, parsley and cheese. Stir to coat the rotini thoroughly, adding the pasta’s cooking water as needed until the sauce reaches desired consistency. Divide into 4 portions, top with a little more cheese, if desired, and enjoy.

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Nutrition Information

Romanesco Broccoli Rotini

Servings per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories:  361

Calories from Fat:  52

Total Fat:  6g

Saturated Fat:  2g

Cholesterol:  11mg

Sodium:  563mg


Carbohydrates:  64g

Dietary Fiber:  14g

Protein:  22g

Sugars:  7g

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