This was inspired by a recipe I found in a newspaper or magazine many years ago. That recipe was soon lost, but I never forgot about it. Eventually, I decided to reproduce the recipe, and my version turned out even better than I remembered. It's colorful, healthy, and so delicious!
If you like cheese, you can sprinkle some grated Parmesan over the pasta at serving time. But this recipe is great without it as well, so I haven't included it in the recipe.
8 ounces dried penne rigati pasta
2 cups bite-size fresh broccoli florets (approx. 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup roasted red peppers (from a jar) cut into thin julienne slices
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (optional; more or less to taste)
Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
Dry white wine (optional; as needed)
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Blanch the broccoli by boiling for one minute (or microwaving for 1 or 2 minutes with 2 tablespoons of water) until crisp-tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, and drain. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium to medium-low heat until lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, and then saute the garlic in the oil for a minute or two over low heat, just until fragrant. Do not let the garlic get brown.
Add the roasted peppers to the garlic and oil, along with the red pepper flakes, if using. Saute over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broccoli and cook for an additional minute or two.
Add the cooked pasta, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste. If pasta seems too dry, add some more olive oil or a splash of dry white wine.
Continue cooking over medium-low heat for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend all the flavors.
-- 3-4 servings