Monday, April 18, 2011

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Orecchiette ... With Broccoli

Orecchiette with Broccoli

Happy Easter Everyone!  Holiday time is always crazy at our house.  Lots of gatherings and lots of hungry guests.  I try to make extra dishes that are not only quick-n-easy but also that keep well in the fridge ... just in case.  Here's one of them.  My orecchiette with broccoli can be made, start to finish in under 15 minutes and is actually best served at room temperature.  With the advent of tons of interesting whole grain pastas on the market now, you can easily cut the carbs in this dish.  And, you can keep it simple and classic (like what's pictured above), or be bold and avant garde and try adding fresh sauteed seafood, crispy pancetta, sliced sausage or even canned tuna to this crowd pleaser.  There's simply no way to get this dish wrong, and even your unexpected guests will think you slaved over a hot stove for them.  I have received accolades on this dish since I started making it a decade ago.  And, so will you.  So, lend me your orecchiette - your ear, that is - and I'll show you how it's done!

1 pound of any whole grain pasta.  I prefer orecchiette (ear shaped) macaroni
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
2 heaping tbsps crushed garlic (from the jar).
4 heads of fresh broccoli (stems removed, and broken into individual bite-size pieces)
Freshly grated Parmigiana cheese
Red pepper flakes

- Boil the macaroni in 6 1/2 cups of well-salted water until al dente.
- Steam the broccoli until vibrant green, which takes about 3 minutes.
- In a large skillet, saute the chopped shallots and garlic over medium heat until the shallots are caramelized, which takes just a few minutes.  Be careful not to burn them.
- Once the broccoli is steamed to perfection, add them to the olive oil, shallot and garlic mixture, and toss briskly over medium heat until the broccoli is well coated.  It doesn't hurt to taste one.  Do not overcook this, or the broccoli will lose its nutrients and start to turn brown. 
- Drain the macaroni, and add it to a large bowl or Tupperware. 
- Carefully pour the sauce and broccoli over the macaroni, and give it a toss with a large slotted spoon.
- Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.

I truly prefer serving this dish at room temperature or even cold.  It's fantastic!

Real Meals for the Working Woman

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