Anyone who has dined regularly at our family dinner table will have eaten broccoli pasta. Once upon a time it was our signature dish and we ate it with such enthusiasm that after leaving home I found I had completely lost any appetite for it, fearing I may never wish to consume it again! Many years passed and when we decided on Family Favourites as this month’s theme I knew it was time to dust off the old cookbook and once again recreate this wonderful dish. It was everything I remembered it to be – fresh and zesty with a hint of chilli, finished beautifully with the smoothness of the cheese and crunch of the croutons.
This is a fabulous weeknight dinner and a great way to get the kids to eat their greens. It requires few ingredients and very few dishes and is surprisingly quick and easy to make – taking little more time that it does to bring water to the boil and cook the pasta. Best of all it tastes delicious.
- 3 slices bread, finely cubed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 80g parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 2 heads broccoli, chopped into small florets
- 400g dried pasta (spirali, penne etc)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 4 anchovies
- ½ - 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan, add the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown and set aside.
- 2. Fill a large pot with water, salt liberally and bring to the boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. You do not want to overcook the broccoli at this stage as it will become mushy and brown. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside. Use the same water to boil the pasta; once it returns to the boil, add the pasta and simmer until cooked through. Drain.
- 3. While the pasta is cooking place the olive oil in a frying pan (on medium-high?), add the garlic, anchovies and chilli and sauté for several minutes.
- 4. Add the broccoli to the frying pan, mashing some bits up and leaving others whole. Finally, add the lemon zest, pasta and 2/3 of the parmesan cheese to the broccoli and mix through.
- 5. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parmesan cheese and small handful of croutons.