The countdown to turkey has officially begun and next week’s food shopping list is decidedly bird oriented, but I can’t forget about the dinners that will precede. I want them to be healthy, light, cheap, and most of all quick! Pasta with Broccoli and Peas is a start.
Though incredibly simple and what the foodie folk would categorize as “cucina povera”, this dish fills my house with a medley of flavors that bring me back to my grandparents. That Olfactory strikes again and I am wrapped in warm memories. T he taste is hearty though the dish itself will spare your waistline for that end of the week stretch. I hope you enjoy.
Pound of pasta (I used barilla whole wheat fussilli)
2 anchovy filets
3 cloves garlic finely minced
head or organic broccoli florets
2 cups of frozen peas
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Grated cheese (I am always a fan of Locatelli)
Ground black pepper to taste
Sea Salt to taste
Pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes
Put a large pot of water to boil with a tablespoon of salt.
While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat the 1/2 of the olive oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Add the anchovy filets and melt into the oil. Add the garlic and saute until lightly browned.
Add the broccoli and blanch for three minutes. Remove with an Asian strainer and toss right into pan with the garlic and anchovies. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.
Toss the broccoli with the 2 cups of frozen peas and the remaining olive oil, add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, continue to cook until the peas are heated through.
Before draining the pasta reserve 1 – 2 cups of cooking liquid. Drain pasta and toss with broccoli and peas, add the butter and grated cheese. Cooking for a minute or two longer, serve immediately.
At the start of writing this blog my Mother kept hounding me to include the “broccoli Soup” recipe.
“What broccoli soup?”
“Your Grandmother made broccoli soup every week! don’t you remember that?!”
The truth was I did not. I had no recollection of the dish, and having been very careful to file away so many of Vincenza’s recipes in my mind I was suspect, but didn’t want to come right out and tell my sweet Mother that she was losing her mind. (A thought I would later have to recant)
I did some minor research and found a myriad of Sicilian broccoli soup recipes in exsistence. It’s possible Vinnie could have whippped this dish up. It certainly fit into her budget friendly menu, a soup that could be stretched with the addition of broken pieces of cappelinni perhaps? That did sound familiar…
I made my version by sauteeing garlic and onions until tender but not browned, then added the broccoli and organic chicken stock. The entire dish took five-seven minutes of “active” preperation. I boiled some farro for a more sustaining accompaniment and topped the soup with freshly grated Locatelli.
Mom sat across from me at the table. ”Smells good!” she said with a wink. In unison we pooled the green soup onto a spoon, gave a gentle blow of cool air from our mouths and sipped a taste. ”I remember this!” I exclaimed, She just laughed. Apparently the taste buds remember what the mind does not.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1 medium yellow onion
2 heads of fresh broccoli chopped into pieces
pinch red pepper flakes
6 cups of organic free range chicken broth
3 cups cooked farro * see note
salt and pepper to taste
grated Locatelli cheese
In a medium to large pot saute the onions in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, add the garlic and stir until soften but not brown. Add the chopped broccoli and red pepper flakes. Pour the stock over all ingredients and simmer for twenty minutes. Combine soup with desired amount of farro and top with grated cheese.
*Farro is a fairly new ingredient in my kitchen, which is ironic considering it is noted to be one of the oldest grains in the world. Said to sustain the Roman Legions! Good enough for me. I am sure there are farro experts out there who can tell you exactly how this delightfully nutty grain should be cooked…I am not that expert. I usually cook my farro by the same technique I use to boil pasta…twice the water with a generous dose of sea salt until al dente.