Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Pasta with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Rather surprisingly I have had to harvest my purple sprouting broccoli today. It seems no time at all since I planted out the little brassica plants but the weather has been ideal and now they are in danger of going over. When it comes to cooking a vegetable where you want it to play a leading part and not simply a supporting role, I find creating a pasta dish works well. I used a shape called messicani for this but any favourite pasta will do. The subtle flavour of fennel comes through, if it were later in the summer I would use fresh seeds from my fennel plants but dried fennel works perfectly well.

Saint Lucia brings the number up to 128, you are very welcome!
Maldives is very welcome, making it 129
Bringing the number up to 130, Somalia, welcome!

To make this recipe (serves 2) you will need;
300 to 400g of fresh purple sprouting broccoli
2 small onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
200g of dried pasta, cooked according to the manufacturer's instruction
a tablespoon of salt for the pasta cooking water
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon of chilli (see note)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Begin by bringing a large amount of water up to the boil, add the salt and cook the broccoli for only 2 minutes, remove the broccoli and keep the water for cooking the pasta.
In a large saute pan place the oil, butter and add the chopped garlic, fennel seeds and chilli, gently cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes while you chop the onions. Add the onions and continue to cook until the onions are translucent. about 3 to 4 minutes. Cut up the stalk part of the broccoli and add. Continue cooking on a gentle heat while you cook the pasta. As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the pan containing the cooked vegetables along with the floret part of the broccoli. Stir in the black pepper and toss the pasta to completely combine with the vegetables. Serve immediately with some grated Parmesan.

I use Aleppo pepper, which is also called Pul Biber, it's available at Melbury & Appleton, it has a rich fruity flavour and a mild heat.
The water is well salted in order to cook the pasta and broccoli so the finished dish should not require extra salt but as always check at the last minute and adjust the seasoning if you believe it needs it.