Penne with Broccoli and Blue Cheese

Some people have their broccoli-cheese casserole; I have this: penne with blue cheese and broccoli. It’s filled with the same comforting overload of starch and gooey cheese but has an added element of danger provided by tangy blue cheese and generously-applied red pepper flakes. I’ve been making this dish for years – I distinctly remember cooking it in high school – and if there is broccoli in the refrigerator and I’m feeling lazy or uncreative this pasta is inevitable. I don’t mind the repetition though; this is a dish that lingers on the table as forks seek out one last bite, and then another.

I think the original recipe was published in the New York Times but I can’t locate it online. In any case, I’ve cooked this without the recipe enough times that I’m willing to claim it for my own.

Penne with Blue Cheese and Broccoli

  • 6 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 2 medium heads of broccoli, florets separated, stems discarded or reserved for other use
  • 1# penne

Bring plenty of salted water to a boil in a large stockpot. Place blue cheese, butter, garlic, and salt, pepper and red pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the stockpot while it is heating to soften the cheese and butter. When water boils, add pasta. After about 4 minutes have passed, add the broccoli. When pasta is done to your liking, drain pasta and broccoli, reserving some of the water to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Toss pasta and broccoli with butter-bue cheese mixture. Adjust seasoning and serve.


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2 comments on “Penne with Broccoli and Blue Cheese”

  1. Brian 9 November, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Interesting that you boil the pasta and broccoli together in the same pot. I do something similar out of laziness whenever I make a side of broccoli to go with pasta. I’ll boil the broccoli first, then boil the pasta in the broccoli infused water. The first time I did it I was hoping for huge broccoli flavor in the pasta but was sorely disappointed just like the first time I had spinach-dyed pasta as a kid.

  2. Jane 15 November, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    A close friend/college roommate from France made something similar, and I have been adding broccoli for the last few minutes of boiling pasta ever since. Hey, it’s not lazy, it is French! The step of putting the bowl over the stockpot is a brilliant touch. This is a very efficient recipe and I may make it tonight!

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