Sheet pan dinners have been around forever but it feels like I’ve been seeing them everywhere lately and it makes sense: THEY’RE SO EASY. I love not having to use a million pots and pans, especially on a weeknight after I’ve been working all day. If you haven’t come across a sheet pan dinner on your Instagram feed, allow me to enlighten you. Closely related to the casserole, a sheet pan dinner relies on one cooking vessel, with minimal prep or other cooking. You do have to cook the pasta first (duh) and chop your veggies, but then it all gets tossed on the baking sheet and into the oven it goes. They cook up pretty quickly and tend to be healthier thanks to a focus on proteins and veggies. Win-win, right?
This was actually my lunch for a week. I’m trying to be better about meal prepping on Sundays, but it’s been a struggle for me to find things that I actually want to eat more than once in a week. When I saw this recipe, though, I knew my search was done.
The original recipe is from the NY Times and while it looks amazing there’s no way it would work for me since I’m living that #WeightWatchersLife. But, I love a good challenge so I set out to make a lighter version – and I must say I was very successful. This is delicious! It has all of the elements of a comfort food dish, but without the guilt. Crunch from breadcrumbs, slightly charred broccoli (so much better than steamed or raw broccoli, if you ask me), and a nice richness from the ricotta cheese – even if it is just skim ricotta!
Here’s how I lightened it up:
whole wheat pasta
skim ricotta cheese and less of it
significantly reduced the olive oil (2 teaspoons as opposed to 2 tablespoons)
reduced the amount of Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs
Little but significant changes.
When I made this I was honest with myself and admitted that I probably wouldn’t want this more than twice in one week, so I froze two of the portions. I ate them a week later and they reheated beautifully. Not going to lie, I even had one of them for breakfast and it was sooo good.
Sheet Pan Pasta with Broccoli
from The Cardigan Kitchen
2 pounds of broccoli, into florets
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
healthy pinch of salt
red pepper flakes to taste
12 oz whole wheat penne pasta (or other tube-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
zest of one lemon
pepper to taste
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
juice of one lemon
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine broccoli, olive oil, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes on a baking sheet. Roast for 18 minutes, broccoli should be tender and browned. Cook pasta according to the package.
Set the broccoli aside and turn the oven to broil.
Stir together Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
Toss the broccoli and cooked pasta together on the baking sheet. Add ricotta cheese in dollops around the pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan mixture and broil for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve!