Think of this as the sheet pan version of a classic, cheese-covered pasta bake. It’s got all the elements of the usual casserole — the pasta and vegetables tossed with ricotta and topped with Parmesan-dusted bread crumbs. But because all the ingredients are spread out on a sheet pan instead of being piled into a baking dish, everything browns, which in turn means more crunch and crisp edges. First, the broccoli is roasted until it softens and browns. Then, the other ingredients are spooned on top, and everything is quickly baked, making for a speedy, vegetarian weeknight meal. It’s worth seeking out really good ricotta here. With so few ingredients, every one makes a difference. – Melissa Clark for NYTimes Cooking.
- 2 ½ pounds broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 12 ounces chiocciole or other tube-shaped pasta
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces best quality, whole milk ricotta
- Fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together broccoli, oil, cumin (if using), 3/4 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes. Roast until tender and browned at the edges, 18 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and set oven to broil.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
- In a small bowl, stir together Parmesan, panko, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the black pepper.
- Toss cooked pasta with broccoli on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then dollop with ricotta. Sprinkle with Parmesan mix, drizzle generously with oil, and broil until topping is crisped and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice to taste, and serve.