Thursday, September 16, 2004


You might notice that the sauce doesn't look so "pink" in this photo. That's because one of my tomatoes tragically went bad and had to be thrown away. So this is what the pasta looks like when you have just one tomato. Still tasted great, though.

Since we’re almost at the point of being what A calls “oppressed by leftovers” (he teases me, but I do get a little tense when I’ve just cooked a meal and there aren’t any Tupperware containers for me to put it in because they’re all full of other leftovers already, and then I feel pressure to make us eat all these leftovers before they go bad, because I’m sort of grossed out by leftovers and how they look unappetizing and cold in the fridge), I just made half this recipe last night. Which I’m now kind of regretting, because it was really good. I don’t love broccoli, but it’s nice and green, and the garlic and tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cheese do a good job of both complementing and downplaying its flavor. This is another recipe from Pasta e Verdura, which I haven’t cooked from in a couple of weeks and had been missing. It really is a great book. Without it, A and I would be scavenging like wild dogs. Or…not exactly, but I really do rely on it. I am making an effort to eat smaller servings of pasta, though. We’ll see how that goes.

Just one hint—I like to cut everything up before I really begin this recipe, because nothing cooks for very long and things start to move quite fast. You want to keep everything tasting fresh; I’m convinced the food turned out extra well last night because I was being attentive and didn’t overcook anything.

1 medium bunch broccoli (about 1½ pounds)
2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded fresh basil leaves
1 pound linguine
freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste
black pepper to taste

1. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta, and several quarts of water to a boil in a smaller pot for cooking the broccoli. While waiting for the water to boil, remove the broccoli florets from the stems, discard the stems, and chop the florets into small, bite-sized pieces. There should be about 5 cups of them. When the water in the small pot boils, add the broccoli and a little salt to the boiling water. Cook the broccoli briefly until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain it and set it aside. When the other water boils, add the pasta to it and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and when it's hot add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute them about 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes (the tomatoes should form a rough sauce but still maintain their shape).

3. Add the cream and basil to the pan, and simmer for about a minute until the cream thickens slightly. Stir in the broccoli, cook it just long enough to heat the broccoli through, and remove the pan from the heat.

4. When the pasta is done, drain it. Add it to the pan with the sauce, mix everything together, portion it out into serving/storage containers, and then sprinkle grated cheese and ground black pepper over the top.

Serves: 6
Time: 30 minutes

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