I was inspired yesterday. Inspired to prepare and consume wholesome, simple, delicious food! After watching the first episode of Samin Nosrat’s Netflix series, Salt Fat Acid Heat , I rummaged through my frig and pantry to see if I had the necessary ingredients for one of my favorite pasta dishes.
Although not the incredible aged Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy that Samin featured on her show, I had shredded Parmesan in a plastic pouch from the grocery store. High class all the way, baby!! Although not fresh handmade pasta – also featured on the show, I had a box of average, run of the mill fettuccine in my pantry. I did have a nice fresh bottle of Italian Carapelli Oro Verde EVOO. And a can of California ripe olives. The stars were aligned! The pasta prep could begin!
I have been making this dish for eons. Well, since the early ‘90s actually, which, most days, seems like eons ago. I used to follow the recipe to a T. Now I am lazy and tend to avoid / combine a couple of the steps. Main reason – I absolutely abhor peeling and seeding tomatoes, and will do just about anything to avoid that task. Besides, I like the skins and the seeds – they add flavor and texture. So, for correctness sake, I’ve included the recipe in its original form. If you choose to make the dish, you can make the call on how you want to handle the tomatoes. I do not peel nor seed my tomatoes, I simple cut them into large chunks and cook them along with the peppers and garlic. I will tell you that I have used fresh heirloom tomatoes, cherry/grape tomatoes, even canned tomatoes, and have been pleased with each. Yesterday I used a package of Wild Wonders Gourmet Medley , and I love the variety of colors and flavors they brought to the dish.
Pasta with Broccoli and Tomatoes
- 1 lb fresh broccoli
- Salt, to taste
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 large sweet red paper, cut into chunks
- ½ lb spaghetti, fettuccini, or penne pasta
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 can ripe olives, pitted and sliced
- ½ cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Cut broccoli into small florets with about an inch of stem. Peel the remaining stems and dice into small pieces.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and submerge tomatoes for about 10-20 seconds. Remove. Peel and seed tomatoes; cut in to large pieces.
Add broccoli to boiling water and cook 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Remove and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking and to retain the bright green color. Drain and set aside. (Note: in my current lazy state, I eliminate this step and simply drop the broccoli in to cook with the pasta about 5 minutes before the pasta will be al dente).
Add a few drops of olive oil to the boiling water, drop in the pasta, and stir.
While pasta is cooking, warm olive oil in a skillet with garlic and red pepper flakes. When hot, add tomatoes and sweet red pepper chunks. Cook for several minutes over low to medium heat.
When pasta is just about done, return the broccoli to the water to warm, then pour pasta and broccoli into a colander. Transfer to a large warm serving bowl. Add the tomato mixture, black olives, parsley, black pepper and toss.
Serve with plenty of freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese and crusty Italian bread.
Generously serves 2 to 3 hungry folks. Cibo delizioso!!