Mary Anne's Healthy Broccoli Penne Pasta

      Need a dish that is lower in calories, but is high in flavor and does not break the bank? Broccoli Penne Pasta is the dish for you! It has a secret ingredient (anchovies) that truly adds to the flavor, but does not overpower this wonderful healthy entrée.

      1 pound penne or farfalle pasta, whole wheat or regular

      4 - 5 cups broccoli, trimmed to florets

      1/4 cup extra-virgin first cold-pressed olive oil

      4 tablespoons butter

      3-5 garlic cloves, sliced thin

      5 anchovy fillets, drained, patted down with paper towel and diced


      2-3 teaspoons anchovy paste, according to taste

      1 package grape tomatoes, cut in half

      1/4 - 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, according to the heat level you like

      1/2 teaspoon salt

      1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

      1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

      -Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes, add the broccoli florets to the pasta and stir and cook for approximately another 4 minutes. Drain pasta and broccoli, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

      -In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, pasta, salt and pepper and toss. Add some of the reserved pasta water, if necessary, to make a light sauce. Transfer to a serving platter and add the Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

      Note: To make this even lighter in calories, you can cut down the butter to 2 tablespoons.

      Note: Do NOT leave out the anchovies. They add a wonderful undertone of flavor, but do not overpower the recipe. You can use anchovy paste if you want. The anchovies melt in the butter and olive oil.

      Note: You can add sautéed shrimp, grilled chicken, bacon, tuna or even cooked diced salmon to this dish for a one-pan meal.