Start to Finish: 40 Minutes | Serves 4
This combination of pasta and Broccolini is tied together with a blend of tangy fresh goat cheese and fruity extra-virgin olive oil for a light but creamy sauce. Olive oil doesn’t just add flavor, it also helps the cheese melt smoothly. Lemony toasted breadcrumbs add a pleasing and crunchy contrast as well as a bright flavor accent. If you can’t find Broccolini, sometimes called “baby broccoli,” substitute an equal weight of broccoli florets.
Don’t use cold goat cheese; it needs to be room temperature to combine with the oil. And don’t boil the pasta until al dente; it should still be very firm when drained, as it will continue cooking in the skillet with the Broccolini.
12 ounces whole-wheat penne rigate
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 ounces chèvre (fresh goat cheese), room temperature
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated lemon
zest, plus lemon wedges, to serve
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
8 medium garlic cloves, minced
6 anchovy fillets, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 to 16 ounces Broccolini, trimmed, large stalks halved
lengthwise, cut into 1-inch pieces
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt, then boil until barely cooked and still quite firm. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, use a fork to mix the goat cheese, 5 tablespoons of the oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium, combine 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and the panko. Cook, stirring, until light golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, then transfer to a small bowl. Let cool, then stir in the lemon zest. Set aside.
Return the skillet to medium and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, anchovies and pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the Broccolini and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cover and cook until the Broccolini turns bright green, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the cooked pasta and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water. Cook, stirring, until al dente and the Broccolini is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
Off heat, add the goat cheese mixture and 1/3 cup of the remaining reserved pasta cooking water. Stir until the pasta is evenly coated, adding more pasta water as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the panko mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.