By Joanne Bruno | January 9, 2012

pasta with broccoli, olives, fetaBY  JOANNE BRUNO

I used to have a “less is less” approach to pasta eating. If you weren’t handing me at least a quarter pound of penne with each serving, then I would have a meltdown that would make even the most egregious of divas look like the-girl-next-door. Granted, this was the point in my life when I was running 30 miles a week and going to the gym for at least an hour the other three days of the week.  I was hungry all the time and, let me tell you, a hungry me is not a happy-go-lucky pleasant-to-be-around me.

However, that was then, this is now. And now that I am no longer a carbohydrate burning machine, I say less is more. But rather than just cutting all of the portion sizes in half, which would surely lead me straight back to hunger-ville, I bulk up my pasta dishes by doubling the veggies.

No one ever gained weight from eating an extra half pound of broccoli. That’s a scientific truth! At less than 400 calories per serving, this pasta dish is not only quick, easy, lemony, tangy, briny and just good…but it’s also January resolution-friendly.  Don’t you just love it when you can have your pasta and eat it, too?

Pasta with Broccoli, Olives and Feta Recipe

Serves 4, adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Ingredients:
1/2 lb pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
9 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated lemon zest plus 2 tbsp juice from one lemon
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 lb fresh broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
1/2 cup parsley, minced
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Method:

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot.  Add pasta and 1 tbsp salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until garlic turns golden but not brown, about 3 minutes.  Add broccoli and 1/2 cup water, increase heat to high, then cover and cook until broccoli begins to turn bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring often, until water has evaporated and broccoli is tender, 3 to 5 minutes longer.  Take off the heat and stir in olives and parsley.
  3. Add broccoli mix and lemon juice to pasta and toss to combine.  Add reserved cooking water as needed to adjust consistency. Serve immediately, passing feta separately.

Joanne Bruno is a food writer and third year MD/PhD student.  Find more of her delicious ramblings over at her blog:Eats Well With Others.

Photos: Joanne Bruno

For more of Joanne’s recipes, follow me on Twitter (@Marcus Cooks)

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