During my decades of dating/working in New York my refrigerator was bare (champagne…ice cream…and some mayo, maybe). It was a rare sight to find me in my kitchen cooking for myself, though I did occasionally have cocktail and dinner parties.
Among some of my bad boyfriends (if you dated for any significant period of time you know exactly what I mean) was one who fancied himself a cook. The only good that came from a year (!) with him was a recipe for a broccoli-pesto-pasta dish that I made for myself every night I was home alone and didn’t order in sesame noodles from—my favorite—First Wok. Anyone who’s lived in NYC knows First Wok since there’s one in almost every neighborhood. I would come home from work and, without taking off my coat, I’d place my call. Remember the “Sex in the City” episode when Miranda called her neighborhood Chinese restaurant and the girl who answered the phone recognized her voice and recited the order without Miranda having to utter a single ingredient? That woud have/could have been me and the First Wok hostess. By the time I’d hung up and gotten into my pajamas, the guy was at my door. Heaven!
Anyway, back to the bad boyfriend. He simply steamed broccoli (he didn’t buy florettes because he was cheapcheapcheap, and he did cut up the stalk, which was actually very good as it added a bit of texture) , cooked some fusilli and tossed them together with pesto. The key ingredient: lots and lots of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I still make the dish, and though Bruce and Emma love it and have given it blog-worthy status, I have yet to post anything about it. Probably because I want to give no credit to the BB.
That broccoli pasta has morphed into a new broccoli pasta—I roast broccoli florettes (yes!) instead of steaming them, and I let cloves of garlic steep in extra virgin olive oil. (Actually, if I’m in a rush I just heat the two together for a couple of minutes…and to be really honest…if I’m really rushed, I nuke ’em for 15 seconds). The key ingredient in this version is the breadcrumb: I toast panko crumbs in butter and add to the pasta along with freshly grated Parmesan. If I have pine nuts on hand, which I didn’t when I made it last night, I toast them, too, and sprinkle over all.
12 oz. fusilli
3-4 cups broccoli florettes (I like a lot of broccoli—you can add more or less), tossed with olive oil to coat and sprinkled with kosher salt
4-6 cloves garlic (I like a lot of garlic–you can add more or less), minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 T unsalted butter
1 cup Parmesan, more for topping
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Toasted pine nuts, optional for topping.
Cook fusilli according to package instructions. Meanwhile, toss the broccoli florettes with just enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Roast in a 425 degree oven, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until broccoli is tender and some of their tips are just gently charred.
While pasta and broccoli are cooking saute panko breadcrumbs in butter until golden brown. Also, heat garlic in olive oil until it’s infused with a lovely garlicky flavor.
Drain the pasta when it’s finished and return to the pot. Add roasted broccoli, toasted panko, garlicky olive oil, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss, and sprinkle the top with more Parmesan and toasted pine nuts if you happen to have them on hand.
What do you think? I hope you like it better than the BB’s pasta that inspired it!
Who needs BBs anyway when you have foodie friends like Sophie from sophiesfoodiefiles? For the second time since I’ve been blogging I am proud to announce that we’ve won another award—The Sisterhood Award. Thank you so very much, Sophie. What an honor!
The Sisterhood Award is given to bloggers by bloggers in recognition of attitude and/or gratitude. I am passing it on to:
• slim-shoppin, and
Thank you all for supporting me with your comments (and more) with dependable regularity from the get-go—and I love all your blogs!
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