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Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Cheese

Simplicity seems to be my strong suit these days. Now that spring break is over the girls have an activity every day after school. I’m all for it, I think its great that they want to try ALL the things….hopefully they will eventually narrow it down to one passion, but for now I am spending the afternoons and early evenings chauffeuring them around the county. The grocery store was SO crowded yesterday and I went in without a plan, big mistake. I stared at all the produce and then impulsively threw a ton of broccoli and lettuce into my cart and left.

Since I tend to be home morning-mid day managing construction and taking care of the animals I’m trying to get better at incorporating meal prep into our busy schedule. I LOVE roasted broccoli and since Johnny is away on business I thought it would be really easy to enjoy a pasta dish with the girls after getting home late this evening. This dish took 20 minutes from start to finish and was super tasty. If you want to add a little protein, it would be great with some added grilled or shredded rotisserie chicken.

What you need:

-Olive oil

-2 broccoli crowns, chopped into little pieces

-1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese works well too)

-2 tbsp salted butter

-1/4 grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)

- approx 8-10 oz dried rigatoni or preferred pasta (1/2 a standard box)

-salt and pepper

-red pepper flakes

This is so easy its silly. Begin by preheating the oven to 425 and then chop your broccoli into little bits and pieces. The smaller the pieces, the crispier they will be. Spread out the broccoli onto a baking sheet and drizzle over a healthy amount of olive oil (3-4 tbsp). Sprinkle fresh ground salt and pepper all over and give it a good toss. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring half way through. The broccoli should get nice and crispy on the edges but still maintain its vibrant green color throughout.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked through, drain it in a colander. Add the cheeses and butter to the pot that the pasta was cooked in and stir to melt. When the cheese is mostly melted and combined add the pasta back in with a healthy dose of fresh ground pepper. Add red pepper flakes if you desire. Now mix in your broccoli and serve with additional Parmesan on top. Enjoy : )

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