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  • Writer's pictureLydia Gerratt

Penne with broccoli and lemon zest

Penne with broccoli and lemon

This pasta is simple; broccoli, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil. All these ingredients turn into a creamy tasting pasta dish even though there is no cream in sight. It’s the broccoli steam fried with olive oil that makes it taste so good.

I use the normal every day broccoli as I think it is the sweetest tenderest one.

Miraculous ingredients: Broccoli, extra virgin olive oil, Pennette rigate pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan)

Penne with broccoli and lemon zest


400g broccoli (one large head), cut into bite size florets

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

The zest of 1 lemon

350g pennette rigate – these are the little penne (good quality Italian pasta – I use Giuseppe Cocco)

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano to serve


Place a large pan that can hold a good 3 litres of water onto a high heat. When the water starts to boil add a teaspoon of salt and all the penne.

Put a dry medium size frying pan on a low heat to warm up as you get the ingredients ready. Add half (2 tablespoons) the extra virgin olive oil to the warm pan and quickly fry the chopped garlic for about 20 seconds. Do not let it brown and release any bitterness.

Add the broccoli florets, 100ml water, stir and put a lid on. Increase the heat to high to get the water boiling and then reduce the heat to medium.

The broccoli will take about 8 minutes to soften and cook. Turn off the heat and stir through the lemon zest and juice.

When the penne is cooked al dente (soft on the outside but slightly hard in the middle), lift it out of its water with a pasta spoon and put it directly into the pan with the broccoli and lemon. Add a 3-4 tablespoons of pasta water to help create a sauce (the starch in the pasta water thickens the sauce).

Serve immediately with lots of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking 10 minutes, serves 4

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