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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Broccoli pasta has kid appeal

Thursday, January 20, 2000

Tested by Becky Sodergren

What do you do when your kids love pasta but you're getting tired of the same old red sauce?

Just ask Nancy Zalevsky of Murrysville. She invented today's Countdown to Dinner recipe to solve just such a dilemma.

"My kids like broccoli, and for some reason they seem to like feta cheese" - although she admits that might be unusual for most children. Now they ask for this dish as often as once a week.

Zalevsky is a stay-at-home mom for her two children - Eliot, 10, and Carly, almost 4. Her husband, Perry, works for a computer software company.

Zalevsky grew up in Connellsville, where her mother cooked a lot and she helped out as a child.

Besides cooking, she enjoys gardening and belongs to the PTO at her son's elementary school in the Franklin Regional school district.

We also liked the twist on regular old spaghetti, but we found the dish a little dry. If you don't mind the extra calories, we'd suggest adding a second package of feta, or at least use a little more olive oil. If you want to be health-conscious, though, Zalevsky's is probably the way to go.

One tip from Zalevsky: "When preparing this dish, you really need a large skillet to manage all the pasta and broccoli. Or you could toss the drained pasta and the broccoli mixture back into the large pot which you used to boil the pasta."

Linguine with Broccoli and Feta Cheese

1 pound linguine
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups broccoli, cut into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon basil
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cook pasta according to directions.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add broccoli and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes. Cover and saute 2-3 minutes more. Mix in basil and red pepper flakes and set aside.

Drain pasta and add to the skillet with the remaining olive oil. Add crumbled feta and mix well. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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