Thursday, February 10, 2005


Yeah, I’m slow this week. I made this recipe on Sunday (!) night, as a side dish for Cheesy Stuffed Potatoes, because it’s important to have something green with your big piles of melted cheese. I’m trying to expand my repertoire of side dishes, since green salad gets a little dull after a while. The recipe is from yet another Jack Bishop (sheesh, I must be watching too much 24, I almost typed “Jack Bauer”) publication, The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook. Although neither A nor I adores broccoli, we liked this treatment of it (what’s not to love when red pepper flakes and garlic are involved?). Between the strong flavors of the seasonings and the freshness of our farmers’-market broccoli, there was none of that cabbagey taste that broccoli sometimes has. My only complaint is that it uses one too many pans, but that’s a small gripe. Jack suggests pairing the broccoli with “a tomato-based pizza or tart,” egg dishes, or pasta dishes; I think you could probably even serve it over plain noodles if you wanted to (with a little olive oil and maybe some Parmesan).

1 medium bunch broccoli (about 1½ pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste

1. Bring several quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan. While it's heating, trim the broccoli: separate the florets from the main stalk and cut them into largeish bite-size pieces. When the water boils, add the broccoli and some salt to the water and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain the broccoli and set it aside. (Jack says you can set it aside “for up to 1 hour”--what happens after that?--but I’m not sure why you’d want to do this.)

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. While it's heating, mince the garlic. When the oil is warm, add the garlic and hot pepper flakes to it, stir, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and stir to coat it well with the oil. Cook everything together for 1-2 minutes, add a little salt to taste, and serve.

Serves: 4 as a side dish
Time: 20 minutes

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