Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals: Pasta Handkerchiefs

Planning a weeknight dinner can be daunting. I usually don’t do it and decide what I’m going to cook on my way out of the office. This habit makes it easy to inadvertently choose recipes that are time consuming or expensive. In general, cooking should save you money, not the other way around. So when I was asked to test a recipe from food writer Caroline Wright’s new cookbook Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals for her virtual dinner party, I pounced at the opportunity.

The recipes in this book are designed for “all aspects of the busy life of someone who likes to eat well.” From zucchini ribbon salad to cast iron pan pizza to caramel pudding, each type of course and craving is covered. With so many seasonal options, choosing the first recipe to try was no easy task. I finally decided to make Pasta Handkerchiefs with Broccoli Rabe and Ricotta and was thrilled with the end result.

Fresh lasagna sheets are layered with creamy ricotta and garlicky broccoli rabe. With a bit of heat from the toasted red pepper flakes and an extra drizzle of olive oil, this dish is truly special. Since I was only cooking for myself, I halved the recipe to get one awesome dinner and one leftover lunch that tasted just as good. Thinking back on how much I enjoyed the pasta, it’s hard to believe it only took twenty minutes to put together.

Below is the recipe as it’s printed in Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals. The ingredients are introduced and highlighted as you need them, so it’s important to read through the recipe before you head to the store.

Pasta Handkerchiefs with Broccoli Rabe + Ricotta
From Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals, Copyright 2013 by Caroline Wright
Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York, All Rights Reserved

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook 
8 ounces fresh lasagna sheets, halved widthwise, according to package directions. Remove the cooked pasta with tongs to a colander to drain, leaving the water in the pot. Return the pasta water to a boil. Drizzle the pasta with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 sliced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is lightly toasted, 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, add 2 bunches broccoli rabe, halved widthwise, to the boiling pasta water and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the broccoli rabe from the water with the tongs and transfer it directly to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the broccoli rabe is tender and any pasta water clinging to it has evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Divide the pasta among four plates, layering it with 1 cup ricotta and the broccoli rabe. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

More recipes from the virtual dinner party: