Rigatoni with Broccolini, Lemon, Garlic & Ricotta

        From the blog For Love of the Table

1 bunch broccolini, trimmed of very thick/tough ends and cut on a long diagonal (about 1/2-inch thick)...florets halved if very fat (trimmed weight about 6 oz./180 g.)

2 T. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 very fat clove garlic, thinly sliced crosswise (use mandoline)

A generous pinch hot pepper flakes

6 oz./180 g. Rigatoni (or other short, sturdy, tubular pasta)

2 T. pine nuts, lightly toasted

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 to 1 1/2 oz. pecorino, grated medium fine

3 oz. whole milk ricotta


Remove the ricotta from the refrigerator and spread it on a plate so that it will warm to room temperature.


Bring a large pot of well-salted water (about a teaspoon of salt per quart).

Place 2 T. of oil in a medium sauté pan along with the garlic and pepper flakes and set over medium heat.  When the garlic begins to sizzle, drop the broccolini in the pot of water.  Cook for one minute, scoop out and add to the pan with the oil and garlic (which should be just beginning to turn golden at the edges...if it begins to color before the broccolini is ready, remove from heat and drizzle in some of the cooking water to stop the cooking).  The oil will sputter and pop when the water clinging to the florets hits the pan.  This is fine.  Continue to cook over moderate heat while the pasta cooks, stirring occasionally and letting it sizzle gently and even brown in spots, until cooked to the doneness you desire.  I like it to be tender, but not mushy.  It should still have some texture.  Set aside until the pasta is done.


As soon as you remove the broccolini from the pot, drop the pasta.  Stir to make sure the pasta isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Cook until the pasta is al dente.  Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.  Return the pan of broccolini to moderate heat and add the pasta.  Scatter the pine nuts and zest over all.  Toss, taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.  If the pasta seems dry, add some of the pasta water.  Add most of the Pecorino and toss again.  Add more pasta water if necessary.  Finish with a drizzle of oil.  Toss again. 

To serve, divide the pasta among to plates and dollop small spoonfuls of ricotta over each serving.  Drizzle with olive oil, scatter the remaining Pecorino over and serve. 

Alternatively, dollop spoonfuls of the ricotta over the broccolini and pasta while still in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter the Pecorino over the top.  Serve from the pan.  (Do not stir the ricotta in.)  Serves 2.


Note:  The recipe is easily multiplied to serve four or more.  Choose a sauté pan that is wide enough to hold all the broccolini in a snug single layer.