The struggle to make a satisfying weeknight meal without using up every last minute of your post-work free time is a real struggle. That’s doubly true if you’re cooking for more than just yourself, especially if, like us, you loathe doing the dishes. That’s why we love one-pot meals. One pot means less dishes, which means more time to relax after you eat. But even then, some one-pot recipes are overly complicated, calling for multiple steps and more ingredients than a reasonable person can fit on their countertop. So when we saw Martha Stewart’s one-pot, 5-ingredient Broccoli Lemon Penne, we knew we’d hit the jackpot of weeknight recipes.
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The recipe is so simple, the title almost gives it away entirely.
Cook penne, then add broccoli florets and cook until both are tender. Strain your pasta and veg, then add it back to the pot. Toss the cooked pasta and broccoli with garlic, lemon juice and zest, and Parmesan cheese (and olive oil – that’s an ingredient freebie, since it’s considered to be a pantry staple).
On a truly busy night, that’s all you need to have on hand and all the work you need to do to get a satisfying meal on the table. You don’t have to rely on a frozen dinner or a seasoning packet.
The recipe is also super flexible. If you have a little extra time you can boost the protein in the dish by adding chickpeas or white beans, or even some sauteed chicken or shrimp (cook it right up in the same pot you cooked the pasta and broccoli in, then add those back at the end).
You can also use different veggies (though note that the cooking time will vary). To add extra greens, toss baby spinach with the broccoli and pasta along with the garlic, lemon, and cheese, while everything is still hot, and the warmth will wilt the spinach. You could also add frozen peas or sauteed asparagus, and a handful of chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or even dill would be delicious, too.
Tired of penne? Swap it out for store-bought gnocchi, ravioli, or tortellini. The options are endless.
Basically, Stewart’s super-simple 5-ingredient one-pot recipe can be made as-is, or used as a jumping point to all kinds of tasty meals. Make it once, and it’s bound to become a staple of your cooking repertoire.
Before you go, check out our gallery below:
Watch: We Tried Ina Garten’s Overnight Mac & Cheese & We Totally Get Why It Broke the Internet
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