Author Colu Henry loves taking vegetables to the edge by roasting them in the oven until they are deeply browned and caramelized. This method gives vegetables great texture and amps up their flavor, resulting in a nice balance of sweet and savory. The feta emulsifies in the pasta water, creating a melty, velvety sauce without the use of cream. Lemon rind cuts the richness and adds a bright note. Cauliflower, romanesco, or very coarsely chopped savoy cabbage would also work well in place of the broccoli. You can substitute gemelli or penne pasta for strozapretti.
4 cups small broccoli florets
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 ounces uncooked strozzapreti or mezze penne pasta
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt (such as Maldon)
Est. added sugars g
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Combine broccoli, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and crushed red pepper on a baking sheet; spread in a single layer. Bake at 425°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until broccoli is charred and browned in spots, stirring after 15 minutes.
Bring a large saucepan filled with water and remaining 2 teaspoons kosher salt to a boil. Add pasta, and cook 7 to 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid.
Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-low. Cook 2 minutes or until garlic is golden, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle flour over pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add reserved 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid and milk to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in feta; cook 3 minutes or until feta begins to melt and sauce is slightly thickened. Add broccoli, pasta, and lemon rind; toss. Divide pasta mixture among 4 bowls; sprinkle evenly with black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon flaked salt.