Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon

Another easy pasta supper, lemony, garlicky, cheesy, broccoli good.

Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon, an easy vegetarian supper recipe, lemony, garlicky, cheesy, broccoli good.

I have a theory, one which makes me swear like a sea-salty sailor.

We Americans consume ten times the salt our bodies need. So when we’re told, “Cut back on salt,” we lightly salt – or worse, skip the salt entirely – when cooking eggs, meat and especially vegetables.

But saltless food tastes flat, leaving our taste buds unsatisfied and our inner chefs questioning our culinary skills. So we turn to prepared food products, which, you guessed it, are heavily salted for both flavor and preservation.

It’s a vicious circle, harder than laboring in the salt mines. The less we salt at home, the more salt we consume. Tastes do vary with heredity, health and age. Children are more sensitive to saltiness than older adults, for example. But if more salt means we eat more broccoli, more green beans, more leafy greens, more dried beans and legumes, more healthful food, well then, isn’t salt a modern-day miracle food?

ALANNA’s TIPS Use the pasta shape of your choice but it’s amusing how buds of chickpea tuck themselves inside the rings of rigatoni. Does it take forever to bring pasta water to a boil? Use your tea kettle! At my house, I warm the pasta pot with two cups water, then add six cups of boiling water from the kettle – so much faster. Poor table salt, it’s been forsaken for more delicate sea and kosher salts. But most table salt is iodized to prevent thyroid issues. For flavoring pasta and vegetable water, choose iodized table salt, saving the others for foods where the salt itself is ingested. More about my favorite salts.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.


Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons table salt
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli, crowns cut into bite-size florets, stalks peeled & chopped
  • 8 ounces rigatoni
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed & drained
  • Zest & juice of 2 lemons
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (from 1-1/2 ounces)

In a large pot, bring water and salt to boil. Prep broccoli, keeping florets and chopped stalks separate. Drop broccoli florets into boiling water, cover, cook for 3 minutes, lift out with slotted spoon to drain in a colander. Add rigatoni, cook til done, drain.

Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough to hold everything, stir together chickpeas, lemon zest, juice and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium til shimmery. Add chopped broccoli stalks, cook til just beginning to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add broccoli florets, warm through. Add chickpea mixture, warm through. Turn this and cooked rigatoni into chickpeas. Add Parmesan, stir gently.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving with (without) chickpeas: 461(330)Cal; 20(15)g Protein; 9(8)g Tot Fat; 2(2)g Sat Fat; 80(55)g Carb; 10(5)g Fiber; 529(201)mg Sodium (NOT including salted water which I have no idea how to calculate in the nutrition software that I use); 9mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 9(6) points

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna