Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pasta w/ Broccoli

So I've been working on my Italian cooking skills. My Italian heritage be damned, one of the best Italian recipes I've had the pleasure of enjoying recently came from a friend of mine who is half Indian, half Norwegian. Remember that posting I did awhile back when I was whining about wanting someone to come cook for me, solve all my problems and strut around looking fine? Well, at least I got two out of three. I didn't dare tell this friend that to cook Italian food for me is almost guaranteed to turn me into putty. No, we'll keep that as our little secret, eh?

Anyway, here's the recipe. It's perfectly simple and utterly delicious, and it goes like this:

Put a big pot of water on to boil, and add a sprinkling of salt. Take one head of broccoli and cut the crowns into nice little bite size pieces. Rinse and set aside. Take 2 or 3 (or however much you like) cloves of garlic and cut into thin slices. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, along with a couple of dried red peppers. Or you can use crushed red pepper, which is what I used when I made it. Cook the garlic & peppers gently till the house smells divine and the garlic is cooked but not browned. Now turn off the heat.

Once the pasta water is boiling, add about half a pound of pasta. Corkscrews or penne work nicely. Cook the pasta till it's about 4 minutes away from being done, and then toss the broccoli in to cook with the pasta. If you like your broccoli super soft (that's for you, Mom!), then add it sooner. If you want it more crisp-tender, then wait another minute to add it. Once the pasta & broccoli are done, drain them, but leave a little bit of water clinging to the pasta. Just a smattering.

Now throw it back into the pan and pour the olive oil & garlic/pepper mixture over it. Add salt, fresh ground pepper, and freshly grated parmesan. Drink wine, and proceed to eat 3 helpings in one sitting. And if you're lucky, sit back and relax while your friend does the dishes.

Problems? Who's got problems??

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