Monday, August 15, 2016

Pasta e Broccoli (2nd version)

This is a fine example on how minimal ingredients can yield a great result.  This dish, typical of the Puglia region of Italy is very familiar to so many of you here in the United States.  The "Andy Boy" variety out of California, is the variety of choice.  
Don't be intimidated by the anchovy.  You may use anchovy paste if you like however you will not get the best result as the paste breaks down a little two quickly.  Buy some good anchovies from Portugal.  They are inexpensive and last once they are opened.  The anchovy adds great flavor and disintegrates into the hot olive oil.  
I came across this special pasta (little Harmonica shapes),  from Puglia in a speciality food store here locally on sale.  For under $15 for the entire dish, a little goes a long way. 
12 oz of dry pasta of your choice. (Spaghetti, Penne, etc)
1lb plus 1/2 lb of Andy Boy Broccoli (Broccoli rabe)
4 anchovy fillets (small) under oil
4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic chopped
I tablespoon of salt for your water
1 pasta pot filled with 6 quarts of water.
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Put a 6 quarts of water in a pasta pot to boil.  Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt. 
Clean your Broccoli and drain.
Add your baking soda (addition of baking soda in your greens will help them remain bright green after they are cooked).
Boil for 10-12 minutes from the time your water comes back to a boil. 

Remove your Broccoli from the water.  Reserve your water in the pot.  You will be using this water to cook your pasta later. Add more water if necessary right to the pot.
In a large skillet,  heat your olive oil.  Add your garlic and after 10 seconds add your anchovy fillets.

 Your heat should be turned down some since the anchovy will sizzle when it hits the pan.  Slowly turn your heat up to medium and your anchovy will disintegrate into the oil, creating a lovely, fragrant aroma.  At this point add your drained Broccoli.  Be careful as it hits the pan.  Saute until all of your liquid has evaporated and your Broccoli has not quite stuck to the pan.  Set aside. 
Bring your water from which you cooked your Broccoli back to a boil.  There is no need to add anything. Cook your pasta until al dente.  Drain your pasta.  Toss and serve. Add more salt if you wish.   Buon Appetito

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pasta with Broccoli

Servings for 6 people:
1 pound or so Broccoli florets, cleaned dried and set aside
1/4 cup olive oil
One large skillet (enough to hold your pasta when cooked)
3 cloves of garlic, diced
one teaspoon of hot pepper flakes
two teaspoons of anchovy paste or one anchovy
One pound of Pasta of your choice.
Several tablespoons of salt (2 for your pasta water), one for your Broccoli). 

This is a wonderful, stand alone dish, that is very satisfying. Place a large, 8quart pot,  filled with water on to boil.   Add 2 tablespoons salt and  bring to a boil.   Blanch your Broccoli florets in the boiling water.  Cook for approximately 3 minutes.  Remove and set the broccoli aside to drain.  Be sure and reserve your water as you will re-use this same pot to cook your pasta later.  Add more water if necessary. 

In the meantime, heat your oil in your skillet on low.  Add your diced garlic, red pepper flakes and anchovy paste.  When you begin to smell your ingredients heating, mash them some with a wooden spoon.   Be careful, not to burn anything, as you just want to oil to be infused and flavored.   Turn your heat up and add your Broccoli Florets.

Carefully, mash or cut your Broccoli florets in the pan.  Using your wooden spoon,  mix your ingredients in the pan so that your Broccoli is well coated.  In the meantime, when your  water is boiling again, add your pasta.  Cook your pasta to al dente.  While your pasta is cooking, your Broccoli should continue to cook for 5 minutes more.  The Broccoli should be soft.  At this point, take a cup of your pasta water and add it to your Broccoli.   This cooking method, will help your Broccoli adhere to your pasta when mixed. The starch from this addition will help the Broccoli develop into a nice creamy, consistency.    Boil away some of the liquid until just a  few teaspoons is left in the pan.

Drain your pasta and toss in the pan with the Broccoli.  Add more olive oil if necessary to the dish before serving. 
Buon Appetito!