I've had Pasta with Lemon, Broccoli, Walnuts, and Toasted Breadcrumbs from Susan at Food Blogga on my Foodie To-Do list (over there on the right sidebar) forever. In fact, it may have been one of the recipes that inspired me to start the list in the first place, that's how long I've wanted to make this dish. Many of my favorite flavors rolled into one meal. Now that's efficiency!
I'm happy to say that I finally got around to crossing it off the list. With a few changes (i.e. adding in a LOT more lemon than the recipe called for), I hit the sweet spot where everything came together quite nicely.
This was my first time making fresh breadcrumbs (I've always used the canned variety, which I have been informed is the ultimate foodie faux pas), so that was empowering. Yeah. I made a batch of Ina Garten's Garlic and Herb Tomatoes (recipe coming soon) on the side, and wound up tossing a bunch in with the pasta as well. It added a lot more flavor and color, which is never (ok, rarely...) a bad thing.
Lemony Pasta with Walnuts, Broccoli, and Toasted Breadcrumbs
Adapted from Food Blogga
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 small shallots or 1 large, thinly sliced
4 cups broccoli florets
About 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more as desired
1 tsp lemon zest
8 oz pasta (your favorite shape... the ridgy or spiral-y kinds are especially good with this)
½ cup walnuts, toasted (see directions below)
½ cup breadcrumbs, toasted (see directions below)
A few shakes of crushed red pepper
A few shakes of salt
Freshly grated Grana Padano
Some good olive oil to drizzle on top
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Layer walnuts on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, until slightly golden and aromatic.
2. To toast the breadcrumbs, place in a skillet on the stovetop; slightly shake until golden and evenly toasty, just a couple of minutes. Remove from pan, so that the heat won’t continue to toast them.
3. Cook pasta in salted water according to directions.
4. Add olive oil to a skillet. Over medium heat, sauté garlic and shallots until slightly caramelized. Add the broccoli, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli turns a brilliant green and remains firm to the touch. Add your cooked pasta to the skillet with the broccoli mixture, and toss in the toasted walnuts and breadcrumbs. Taste and squeeze more lemon juice in to reach desired flavor.
5. Sprinkle with a healthy dose of grated Grana Padano cheese and some fresh parsley. Finish with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.