Tuesday Dinner: Pasta and Broccoli

Pasta and broccoli is an old Paventi favorite.

Wait. Let’s try that again.

Olive oil with pasta and broccoli is an old Paventi favorite. Much better.

I don’t know why, but there is a segment of my parents’ cooking arsenal that included the use of olive oil as a liquid sauce. Now, I do enjoy pasta aglio e olio from time to time, but my father (it’s okay, he doesn’t know I write this blog) would use the oil as a base. A typical pasta and broccoli would include 7,000 cloves of garlic, a quart of olive oil and a pound of pasta. I think now is the PERFECT time to point out that I was being treated for high cholesterol in high school.

As is standard practice these days, I ran across this recipe at Serious Eats and thought about revisiting this memory of my youth. You can use frozen broccoli, but the fresh stuff looked good this week. This freeze/rain issue in Mexico has made trips to the Wegmans produce department damn near depressing. Anyhow, the nice part about this meal is the timing. From prep to plate, it was about 35 minutes.

Pasta and Broccoli
Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 1 pound pasta (rotini makes a nice contrast to the rounded broccoli florets…I picked up a box of Barilla Whole Grain)
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Boil six quarts of water, add some kosher salt, and let the pasta cook per instruction. Before draining, reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.

In a large skillet or saute pan set on medium heat, add your olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add garlic and red chile flakes (optional) and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broccoli florets and give a good coating in the oil and garlic. Cook until completely tender, about 1-2 minutes.

Add pasta to the pan with the broccoli and toss well to coat. Add half the Parmesan and reserved pasta cooking water little by little until it creates a sauce that clings to the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with remaining Parmesan.

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