Low calories penne pasta with broccoli sauce

There are basically two reasons why you should try this pasta:

1) It's really nice

2) It's guilt-free

I am not a nutritionist so I don't know exactly how many calories this meal contains, however, I do know that this dish is super healthy for you: carbs + fibres + vegetable proteins + healthy fats from the olive oil = the perfect after workout dinner for everybody, including vegetarians and vegans.

I consume a lot of cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts and broccoli in the winter as they are seasonal and they have many health benefits!

"Broccoli is a good source of fibre and protein and contains iron, potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium as well as the vitamins A, C, E, K and a good array of B vitamins including folic acid." - BBC Good food

I don't eat pasta every day like a good Italian is supposed to, I enjoy it once a week. Pasta is a highly processed food and it has to be eaten in moderation, like everything that contains white flour.

To know about my eating habits, check this post: What I eat in a day to stay fit in my 30s

Pasta is part of my culinary culture and I love it, but it is not a good habit to have it more than once a week if you have a moderate activity level.

The best way to have a satisfying pasta meal that doesn't contain a huge amount of calories is to pair it with a vegetable-based sauce. This little trick gives us endless recipes to play with and it makes the dish more balanced.

It was one of those evenings again: came home from work, it was my turn to cook, nothing exciting in the fridge, we had meat the day before so we really wanted to have something vegetarian.

I came up with the idea of a yummy broccoli sauce with a spicy twist.

Super quick, because I didn't even steam them: I literally tossed in a pan while the pasta was cooking.

Then I blended the florets with some pasta water.

To all the lazy people out there: if this is not your favourite healthy pasta recipe I don't know what can be.

Ingredients for 2:

-1 big Broccolo

-250g Penne pasta

-a pinch of crushed chilli flakes

-1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

-a pinch of salt

-2 cloves of garlic

-Put on the water for the pasta first, the sauce will require the same time it will take for the pasta to be ready (it doesn't matter the method: you might prefer pouring the water directly on the stove to warm or using the kettle)

-Pour a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a large pan and add the crushed chilli and two garlic cloves to warm up. Let the aroma release from them for a couple of minutes.

-Chop the broccoli into small florets and add them into the pan with half glass of water and let it cook covered with a lid for 10 minutes

-When the pasta water is boiling, add some salt, stir with a ladle and toss the pasta in. Let it cook using the timing written on the packaging but I always cheat and drain it 1 minute before. Prior to that set aside a cup of hot pasta water.

-Spare a couple of broccoli floret to garnish the dish

-Blend the broccoli with some pasta water (not too much as it will be too watery otherwise) and another tablespoon of oil.

-Add the pasta to the sauce on the stove for a final round on high heat for 60 seconds just to mix well all the flavours (it will help as well if you ended up adding too much water as it will have the chance to dry a bit)

-Enjoy a good pasta dish and don't forget to add the floret you set aside on top!

If you don't mind adding extra calories, just grate some more cheese on top (it could be Cheddar, Ricotta secca or Parmesan).

I hope you guys liked my recipe!

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Check another of my pasta recipes here:

Tomato and aubergines pasta