Years ago I found this delicious recipe for orecchiette with roasted broccoli and walnuts in an issue of Real Simple Magazine. I quickly became a fan! I love pasta! All kinds of pasta, except fettuccine Alfredo that I had a very unfortunate, but comical incident with in college! Alfredo sauce is not my friend, and once was enough! But spaghetti, lasagna, stuffed shells, macaroni and cheese…. I love them all! This dish offers the health benefits of veggies and still gives you a nice pasta fix. Except, my husband doesn’t share my love of pasta, and somehow this recipe morphed into a roasted veggie dish, no pasta. Definitely healthier and better for the waistline, and still so yummy!
It was Joe’s idea to brush the garlic olive oil onto the broccoli. Sometime I take the time to do this, sometimes I just toss it all together. It just depends on how much time I have. The broccoli and walnuts do absorb more of the garlic flavor if you take the time to brush it on. I had a streak where I burned the walnuts almost every time I made this dish. My sweet daughter suggested putting them in a few minutes later. That has worked wonderfully and I don’t think I’ve burned the walnuts since.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If using pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 3/4 c. of the cooking water, drain the pasta and return to the pot.
Combine minced garlic and olive oil. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli with garlic and olive oil. For even more flavor, use a basting brush to brush olive oil onto broccoli florets. Sprinkle salt evenly over broccoli. Roast for 5 minutes. Add walnuts to baking sheet, toss to mix well with broccoli, garlic and oil. Return to oven. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes until broccoli is tender and walnuts are lightly browned.
If using pasta: Toss the cooked pasta with the broccoli mixture, butter and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. (Add more water if the pasta seems dry).
Sprinkle with Parmesan or Feta cheese.
Serving suggestions: Goes well with burgers or chicken from the grill, Salmon or Lemon chicken recipe
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