In the mean time, we'll just have to pick it up from the market like we did today so I could make this Spicy Pasta with Broccoli for dinner. What initially drew me into this dish was the use of the entire head of broccoli, stalks and all. The stalks don't seemed to be used all that often and while they seem to be slightly less flavorful than the florets, they are still tasty and full of nutrition. While you don't have to do much to the florets but slice them off, the stalks do take a little more effort. The first thing you need to do is remove their tough outer skin either by using a peeler or paring knife - once that is off, they then need to be sliced into thin pieces so they are able to cook at the same rate as the florets. The stalks also work well for to make broccoli slaw instead of or in addition to cabbage for crunch.
Use any type of short pasta you like - orecchiette or fusili would be nice, but our pantry already had penne on hand and we went with that. While the pasta was off cooking, we had another pan on the stove heating up with a slick of oil to toast a few cloves of sliced garlic and a couple pinches of crushed red pepper. The broccoli florets and stems were slid into the party with a splash of water - this creates a steamy environment once the cover is added to help start chipping away at the rawness. After a few minutes, the cover is removed, allowing the excess water to evaporate and the broccoli to finish coming to the crisp-tender point.
When the pasta was ready, we scooped out a rough half cup of the starchy water, then drained away the rest. The pasta was put back into the pot (off heat!), along with the garlicky broccoli and handful of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Enough of the saved cooking liquid was added, which melted the cheese and bound this dish together with a thin sauce. Once portioned out, we sprinkled a little extra Parmesan on top for a salty finish, which was definitely welcomed and appropriate.
An enticing veggie meal for sure, if you wanted to stretch this out and introduce a little meat, I bet cooked and crumbled Italian turkey sausage (especially hot, but I wouldn't dismiss the sweet variety!) would be an exciting addition to bring in a little flare.
Spicy Pasta with Broccoli