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Pasta and Dessert

Our columnist shares family favorites.

by Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio

Happy March! I’m sharing a recipe using one of my favorite springtime veggies, broccoli rabe, a green leafy vegetable, with a slightly bitter taste. Broccoli rabe contains vitamins A and C, folate, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and more. It’s delicious in the pasta recipe I’m sharing here, and just in case you’re looking for something sweet, the Toffee Bar recipe is sure to satisfy that craving.

Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Feta
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked, and drained (reserve 1 cup cooking water)
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches broccoli rabe, rinsed well, and 1-2 inches of stems removed and discarded
1 lb. button mushrooms, wiped and sliced
1 (6 oz.) can tomato pasta with Italian herbs
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1 jar (8 oz.) sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, *drained/reserved
Sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 (8 oz.) package traditional Feta cheese crumbles

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it burn. Add broccoli rabe and mushrooms, cook until fork tender, about seven to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, one cup reserved pasta water, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, cook for about five minutes.

In a large serving bowl toss the spaghetti and broccoli rabe mixture together. When doing individual plating, *drizzle a little of the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes over each serving, and sprinkle with Feta cheese crumbles.

Niece Christina’s Toffee Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
2/3 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Heat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, mix softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk. Stir in the flour and salt. Press into a 13 x 9 x 2 rectangle pan greased with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (crust will be soft). Once out of the oven immediately sprinkle chocolate chips onto hot crust. Let stand about five minutes or until chocolate is soft; spread evenly. Sprinkle with nuts. Cool for 25 to 30 minutes in pan on wire rack. Cut bars into eight rows by four rows.

Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio is author of Seasoned With Love, Treasured Recipes, Lisa Ann’s Seasoned With Love II, and children’s books Snicker Learns An Important Lesson and Readers’ Favorite 5-Star rated Little Twinkle Learns Her Purpose.

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