Monday, December 23, 2013

One Great . . . really easy recipe

Before I take off for my own holiday, I was looking around for the first recipe I could offer for 2014. I won't be back until after Jan. 1, and you'll be embarking on your recipe resolutions by then.

So I thought of this recipe, from "The Can't Cook Book," by Jessica Seinfield (Artisan, 2013). If you know someone (or you are someone) who really thinks cooking is scary business, make 2014 the year you get over that. It's healthy - it's fresh, green broccoli tossed with almonds, lemon juice, feta cheese and pasta.

Who doesn't want to start the year eating like that? Life is better when you make dinner. And it doesn't have to be hard. I promise.

Greek Pasta
Adapted from "The Can't Cook Book," by Jessica Seinfeld.

1 bunch broccoli
8 ounces feta (2 cups, crumbled)
1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 (16-ounce) box whole wheat or regular penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil

FILL a large pot with water to about an inch below the top. Place on the stove, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Place a colander in the sink. (To make the water boil faster, put a lid on it.)

CUT the broccoli into small florets, leaving a little stalk attached. Cut the florets in halves so it will be easier to eat. Place the broccoli in the calendar and rinse with cold water. Drain the feta if it's packed with water and crumble into a large bowl. Grate the yellow part of the lemon rind into the bowl. Add the oregano, red pepper and black pepper.

PLACE a small skillet on the stove and add the almonds. Turn the heat to medium. Shake or stir the almonds often so they don't burn and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until toasted and fragrant but not too brown. Remove from heat.

ADD the pasta to the boiling water. Set the time for 3 minutes less than the package directions call for. When the time goes off, add the broccoli to the water and continue cooking together for 3 minutes. Drain everything in the colander and add immediately to the large bowl. Sprinkle in the almonds and toss everything to combine. Drizzle in the oil. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice in. Toss again to cot. Season with salt to taste.

YIELD: 4 to 6 servings.