December 2, 2010

Quick Fix Dinners: Penne with White Beans, Broccoli and Lemon

So I realized that I haven't been totally true to my word. I set out to provide college students (or anyone interested in cooking) with the tools to make themselves fresh, delicious, simple meals. Some of my recipes have done that, some have not. I realize that not everyone has the time or interest in making a golden beet galette for a Wednesday night dinner, tasty as they may be.

Which is why I'm starting a new series called Quick Fix Dinners. These are meant to be simple and super delicious meals you can easily prepare on a weeknight. Now this is not 30-minute meals with Rachel Ray. There's still a focus of great flavor, fresh vegetables and good, simple cooking. I hope that it gets a few of you in the kitchen. Let us know how it goes in the comments, or comment with your favorite easy dinners to prepare. 

For the first installment, were making penne pasta with sauteed broccoli, white beans, pepperoncino, lemon and parmesan.  The flavors are clear and straightforward, and best of all, you can prepare the whole thing in about 20 minutes flat. It's easy to play around with adding different vegetables, types of beans, herbs, adding chicken, or anything else you'd like. Also, if you're a garlic lover, this dish can handle lots of garlic, so go for it. Serve this with some good bread and a simple salad. 

Penne with White Beans, Broccoli and Lemon

Almost everything you need to prepare for this simple dinner.
When you prepare the broccoli, use the stem too. Just use a vegetable peeler to peel off the tough outer layer and cut it into 1/2 inch pieces. If the bottom of the stem is too tough, discard it. Also, broccoli rabe or broccolini works great in place of normal broccoli in this recipe. 

-1/2 pound penne pasta
-2 generous tablespoons olive oil
-1 small red onion, chopped
-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
-1 large head of broccoli, cut into medium pieces, including the stem 
-1 can of white beans, such as cannellini beans, drained
-1/2 t. pepperoncino (Italian chili flakes), optional
-1 T. parsley, finely chopped
-1/2 lemon, squeezed 
-grated parmesan cheese for topping

-Cook pasta according to package instructions. 

-In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium high and add onion. Saute around 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add the broccoli and saute 10 minutes until mostly cooked. Add the white beans and saute 2 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and add pepperoncino, parsley and lemon.

-Mix everything with the pasta. Grate the parmesan cheese over and serve at once. 

Serves 2

P.S. Shout out to Lauren K. for inspiring me to start this series!