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Pasta e Brocolli

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I'm the offspring of Southern Italian peasants and this recipe in its basic form is a peasant dish, there are a few nuances to the cooking method that are a little counter intuitive but can really make all the difference to the appeal and eating of the final dish.

Serves 4 (increase quantities to taste)

1 x large head of broccoli

4 x garlic cloves

4 x anchovy fillets

2 x teaspoons of dried chilly flakes

4tbs of olive oil

Grated hard cheese x Pecorino or Parmegiano.

400g x pasta (main dish)...penne, linguine, orichietti (classic) whatever you fancy.

Clean and cut the broccoli into similar sized florets, cook in hot boiling salted water for five minutes or so until just tender, do not drain the broccoli water. While the broccoli is cooking...

very gently heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the anchovy fillets, mash them with a fork until they have dissolved and then

add chopped or crushed garlic and chilli to warm through taking great care not to burn them. Take the pan off the heat if you need to.

With the broccoli just cooked remove straight from cooking water in to sautee pan, bring water back up to the boil check for seasoning and add pasta to the very same cooking water. (If you'd prefer to keep a few whole broccoli florets back at this stage to add to the final dish do so)

The trick is to now form a sauce with the remaining broccoli/oil emulsion by over cooking the broccoli and adding cooking water if needed. You can even assist this process by mashing the florets with a fork or even a potato masher, after 5 minutes or so of further cooking you should have a pesto like textured broccoli sauce with a few remnants of broccoli stem, your sauce is nearly ready. Add a reasonable grating of parmeggiano or pecorino and check for seasoning.

Under cook the dried pasta by a few minutes and directly transfer to the broccoli sauce, again keep some of the cooking water back.

Continue cooking the pasta in the broccoli sauce adding the cooking water until ready , add the florets that were kept back to heat up and you should have a silky wet sauce with the pasta nicely coated.

You can add a little more cheese or chilli at the table.

That's it simple, pungent and tasty. Enjoy and buon appetito.

Edited by antdad (log)

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