with Lemon Infused Vegetables and Ricotta Salata
This vegetarian entrée features large pieces of Shiitake mushrooms that help give the dish a hearty, meaty flavor.
1 pound broccoli florets
1 large fennel, cut into strips
1 gallon water
2 tablespoon salt
1 (16-ounce) package penne pasta
4 to 6 ounces virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 pound Shiitake mushrooms, quartered
1 cup red peppers, diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, coarsely chopped
1 pound ricotta salata cheese
- Par-cook the broccoli and fennel by boiling for 3 to 4 minutes in salted water; drain and reserve.
- To cook the pasta, bring the salt and water to a boil. Add the pasta and stir frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Cook until the pasta is almost tender, approximately 8 to 10 minutes Drain and reserve some of the cooking liquid.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic, lemon zest and the red pepper flakes in the olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes, being very careful not to brown the garlic.
- Add the red peppers and Shiitakes and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender.
- Add the cooked broccoli, fennel and fresh thyme and continue to cook without browning.
- Add the cooked pasta, half of the parsley and season with salt and ground black pepper. If the pasta seems too dry, add some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid.
- Portion the pasta into heated bowls and garnish with grated ricotta salata and the chopped parsley.
Makes 6 servings.
Note: Ricotta salata is a dry salted ricotta cheese that has a sharp, almost tangy flavor. It is available in most Italian grocery stores.
Recipe and photograph courtesy of the National Pasta Association.