This cheesy broccoli rabe pasta bake comes together quickly for a hearty and yet healthy meal everyone will love. It’s filled with sun-dried tomatoes and chickpeas.
This was the first weekend in exactly 3 months that I didn’t have to worry about cross training, tempo runs and preparing for a Monday long run. I ate pancakes topped with cookie butter twice, I decorated the house, I cleaned, I cooked and I fit in some low key exercise when I wanted to.
9 times out of 10 I live for a schedule, but after 12 weeks of training and “have to do” workouts, this was a very welcomed change. Cheesy pasta seemed like a good thing to celebrate with.
It was one of those days where I woke up knowing I wanted to make a hearty meal that would go great with a bottle glass of wine. It was freezing outside, (which I found out first hand by breaking my own rule and running outdoors under 40 degrees) so I decided there was no better way to spend a lazy Sunday indoors than eating a stick to your ribs meal while getting a little tipsy.
I got out the pans, blasted some Christmas music, got to chopping and then had a momentary freak out because I thought Ginger had disappeared. The garlic was sautéing and I looked up, expecting her to be in the family room on her bed but didn’t see her. I called her…silence. No click clacking of her nails on the hard wood coming to me. I ran upstairs thinking maybe she got stuck behind the door in a room…nothing. Then I convinced myself I must’ve let her out and not remembered. So, I ran outside in my slippers and starting calling her, whistling, clapping, the whole shebang. Nothing. On the verge of a panic attack, I ran back inside, grabbed my phone and started searching for Ulysses in my contacts. And then it hit me. He took her with him.
Stu to the pid.
Guess who burnt the first batch of garlic?
Besides the realization that I was out of cannellini beans, it was smooth sailing from there. Garlic can be sautéed again and chickpeas work just as well. Crisis averted.
Ulysses (and Ginger) came home, my parents came over and we dug in. Glass of wine in hand.
2.5 glasses later it was gone and dad had drank enough that he even ate the spinach and kale salad I made as a side without complaint.
Get ‘em tipsy enough and they eat healthy!
- 1 pound whole wheat penne
- 1 large head broccoli rabe, cleaned, ends removed and roughly chopped
- 1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- 1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a large saute pan with sides saute garlic and onion in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Once water comes to a boil, drop in broccoli rabe and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Remove, drain and set aside.
- Add red pepper flakes and sundried tomatoes to onions & garlic and cook another minute.
- Add broccoli rabe to saute pan and season generously with salt & pepper.
- Once water has come back to a boil, add pasta and cook for 8 minutes (slightly under done)
- While pasta is cooking, add chickpeas to broccoli rabe mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Add a bit more olive oil if the mixture becomes too dry.
- Once pasta is done, drain into a colander and return to the pot. Add the broccoli rabe mixture to the pasta pot and stir to combine. Season generously again to taste. Add another tablespoon or so of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking. Add 1 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan and toss to combine the pasta mixture.
- Pour pasta into a greased oven safe bowl and top with remaining parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes, broiling the last couple minutes to brown the cheese if desired.
- Serve hot.
You can substitute any white bean for chickpeas. For a more "cheesy" consistency, consider adding ricotta cheese to the mixture.
Catching up from the weekend? Here’s what you missed:
- Tofu bacon panini <—the ultimate hypocritical sandwich
- Sugar plum balls <—healthy snack meets the holidays
- Cranberry almond biscotti <—including pretty tree pictures
Have a good Monday!