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Pasta with Broccoli, Peppers, Anchovies, and Garlic


Recipe from Angelo Arecchi

INGREDIENTS

  • One head of broccoli
  • Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Three fillets of anchovies
  • One red (or yellow or orange, but not green) bell pepper, cut into fine strips
  • Hot pepper (two cherry peppers, one jalapeno, or one serrano), seeds and ribs removed and cut into fine strips (hot peppers are optional, but highly recommended)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ~14 oz pasta. Traditionally, coin shaped orecchiette is used, but any short, but not tubular pasta works fine. Fusilli is another good choice.
  • 2 TBS RR&Co Heirloom Garlic Oxymel
  • Grated cheese to taste. This recipe is really over-matched for the creamy subtlety of Parmigiano Reggiano. A good rustic pecorino such as Locatelli Romano is more suited.

INSTRUCTIONS

From Angelo—I grew up in an Italian-American household where pasta and vegetables were a staple. Here is one of my favorites. Please read notes* below before starting recipe.

  1. Wash the broccoli and separate the head into the stems and florets. Cut the stems into ¾ inch (2cm) pieces.
  2. In a large sauce pan or frying pan, heat the garlic and anchovies in the olive oil over medium low heat until the garlic softens and the anchovies melt, Add the bell peppers and hot peppers and cook until all are soft. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, boil several quarts of water. When the water boils, add the pasta and the broccoli stems. **
  4. Note the recommended cooking time (to al dente) for the pasta. When there are six minutes left to go, add the broccoli florets to the boiling water.
  5. When the recommended time to cook the pasta to al dente is up, reserve a cup or two for the pasta water and then drain the pasta and broccoli.
  6. Add the pasta and broccoli to the pan with the peppers and sauté together over medium heat, adding pasta water as necessary to finish cooking the pasta and producing a smooth sauce. Gently stir in RR&Co Heirloom Garlic Oxymel.
  7. Serve with grated cheese. 

*There are a few keys that really make this recipe:

  • Cooking the broccoli and the pasta together.
  • Separating the broccoli stems and florets and cooking them for different durations.
  • The anchovies. They have a real presence without anyone really knowing they are there. If there are any anchovy-haters at the table, just don’t tell them; they will never guess where that wonderful salty umami flavor comes from.
  • Saving some of the pasta cooking water and using it to finish the sauce.

**If the recommended pasta cooking time to al dente is less than 12 minutes, add the broccoli stems before the pasta so the stems cook for about 12 minutes and the florets for about six. There is some arithmetic required here, bit it’s worth the effort.