Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pasta with broccoli and feta sauce

I had a small head of broccoli that needed to be used up, but I was tired of my usual broccoli preparations. So I made a broccoli and feta sauce (which, handily, also used some of the feta cheese that needed to be used up).

1 lb broccoli, or thereabouts
olive oil
1/2 onion or two shallots, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup water

Lightly steam or boil the broccoli just for a minute. The broccoli stalks can be used too--if the broccoli is small and young, just throw them in whole. If it's one of those big tough heads of broccoli, peel the central stalk before adding it. (The stalk has just as much flavor as the heads, and since you'll be pureeing this later on, you don't need to worry about the aesthetic value of the stalk.) You want the broccoli to still be a little crisp and bright green. Meanwhile saute the shallots and garlic in the olive oil. Add the broccoli and saute for a few minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the parsley and cook until wilted. Add the lemon juice and cook for another minute or two.

Dump into a food processor along with 1/4 cup of feta and 1/4 cup of water. (But really, more cheese won't hurt anything.) Puree until smooth and serve over pasta, with a little olive oil and more feta on top. I used papardelle, but any kind will do.

Cost: depending on the cost of broccoli in your area, anywhere from $1.50 to $2.50 for a head. We'll say $2, plus another $2 for the feta (less, if you buy it in bulk), 50 cents for the lemon, 50 cents for everything else. I used two packages of papardelle from Trader Joe's at $2 each. That's $4 for the pasta and another $5 for the sauce, but I could have used a cheaper pasta (spaghetti, penne) and I did buy the feta in bulk. Anywhere from $6 to $9 for the entire dish, making four adult servings at $1.50 to $2.25 per serving.

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