Keep it stupid simple. That saying applies to so much in life, including food. One of my favorite “stupid simple” meals is buttered pasta with a vegetable and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. Incredibly simple, incredibly good, and a million ways you can play on that theme. This Roasted Broccoli Pasta with Lemon and Feta is just buttered pasta with charred oven roasted broccoli, steak seasoning, bright lemon, and salty feta. The flavor combo is absolutely to die for and it really couldn’t be any easier.
What is Steak Seasoning?
Steak seasoning, sometimes called Montreal steak seasoning, is one of the few pre-made spice blends that I keep in my pantry. This chunky-crunchy blend of spices has big pieces of salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, and other spices. It’s not just good for steak, it’s also great with broccoli, potatoes, pasta, and a million other things. The way the coarsely ground spices coat the surface of food provides a slightly crunchy texture, a subtle smokiness, and big pops of flavor. I put it on everything.
Do I have to use Whole Wheat Pasta?
You can actually use any type of pasta you have on hand for this recipe, BUT I find that the slightly nutty flavor of whole wheat pasta pairs the best with the flavors in this dish. And while you can use a long shaped pasta, like spaghetti or linguine, shorter shapes will be easier to stir together with the rest of the ingredients. Bowtie and rotini are great alternatives to the penne.
Fresh Lemon is a Must
The fresh lemon carries a lot of weight in the flavor profile of this pasta, so please don’t be tempted to skip it! Whole lemons can be on the pricier side, but if you buy a whole bag of lemons and keep them in your freezer, you’ll pay less per lemon. Frozen lemons are still great for zesting and juicing, but will not be pretty for garnishing or slicing.
Can I use Frozen Broccoli?
If you know me then you know I love to roast frozen broccoli. It’s fast, easy, and totally delish. But for this recipe I highly recommend using fresh instead of frozen broccoli. Fresh broccoli is not as “wet” as frozen broccoli, so you get a better char on the outside edges, which lends a really smoky flavor to this pasta. You can use frozen in a pinch, but you’ll get much better flavor with fresh for this recipe.
Roasted Broccoli Pasta with Lemon and Feta
- 1 lb. broccoli crowns ($1.79)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
- 1 tsp steak seasoning ($0.10)
- 1 fresh lemon ($0.39)
- 8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta ($0.50)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.20)
- 1 oz. crumbled feta ($0.55)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the florets out over the baking sheet. Drizzle the broccoli with olive oil and sprinkle the steak seasoning over top. Toss the broccoli until it is well coated in oil and seasoning.
- Roast the broccoli for 20-25 minutes, or until it is brown and crispy on the edges.
- While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the rest of the dish. Bring a pot of water to boil for the penne. Once boiling, add the pasta, and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (8-10 minutes). Reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
- While the pasta is boiling, zest a lemon, then cut it into wedges.
- Return the drained pasta to the pot (heat turned off). Add the roasted broccoli florets, the butter, about 1 tsp lemon zest, and the juice from two of the lemon wedges. Stir the ingredients together, letting the residual heat from the pasta melt the butter. If the pasta seems too dry, add a splash or two of the reserved pasta water.
- Top the pasta with crumbled feta and a pinch or two more steak seasoning, if desired. Serve with extra lemon wedges.
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How to Make Roasted Broccoli Pasta – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Chop the broccoli crowns into small florets.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the broccoli florets out over the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle 1 tsp steak seasoning over the broccoli.
Toss the broccoli florets until they are well coated in oil and seasoning.
Roast the broccoli florets in the 400ºF oven for about 25 minutes, or until they are well browned and crispy on the edges.
While the broccoli is roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 8 oz. whole wheat penne and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (8-10 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
While the broccoli is roasting and the pasta is boiling, zest the lemon then cut it into wedges.
Once the pasta has drained, but is still hot, return it to the pot (with the heat turned off) and add the roasted broccoli, 2 Tbsp butter, about 1 tsp lemon zest, and the juice from two of the lemon wedges.
Stir the pasta to combine the ingredients and let the hot pasta melt the butter. If the pasta becomes dry, add a splash or two of the reserved pasta water. Once the butter has fully melted, top the pasta with 1 oz. crumbled feta.
Serve with the remaining lemon wedges for squeezing over each bowl. If desired, add an additional pinch or two of steak seasoning.