Penne with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Pine Nuts, Chilli & Lemon

This easy pasta dish can be whipped up in minutes, so is an ideal healthy midweek meal

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Serves 4 as a starter
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


400g purple sprouting broccoli
400g Penne pasta
100g pine nuts, toasted
2 tbsps olive oil for pan frying
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
Sea salt and pepper
1 unwaxed lemon, the zest removed and the juice squeezed


1. Wash and trim the purple sprouting broccoli, discarding any tough parts to the stalks and cutting them into 2 cm pieces. Set aside.

2. Heat a large saucepan of water, and when the water is boiling, pour in the penne pasta. Boil the pasta for approximately 12 minutes, until it is soft but still has a bite to it. When ready, drain the pasta.

3. While the pasta is cooking, heat a smaller saucepan of water on the stove, and when the water is boiling, blanch the purple sprouting broccoli for no more than 3 minutes. Drain and leave to cool on a preparation tray.

4. Toast the pine nuts in a dry non-stick frying pan. Be very careful not to burn them. The secret is to keep shaking the pan so they do not stick to the bottom and burn.

5. Take a heavy saucepan and heat the oil. Add the finely chopped shallot, garlic and red chilli, along with a pinch of sea salt and some freshly grated black pepper. Soften the vegetables quite gently, adding a small amount of water to help create steam in the pan. When the vegetables in the pan are soft, add the cooked pasta, the lemon zest, a little of the lemon juice and the toasted pine nuts. Mix well and fry for 3 minutes. Add the blanched purple sprouting broccoli, mix well, and then turn off the heat.

Serve on a warm platter, with extra lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

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