Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simply Pasta

Yesterday the container holding our worldly goods arrived from England. Furniture, bikes, small appliances and 365 boxes (not kidding) were carted into our modest house and piled, teetering one on top of the other. The house was a maze of boxes stacked taller than me. My little girls loved it, and ran through the house screeching that it was like being in the jungle.
I felt completely overwhelmed.
But, I still wanted to cook dinner. I rooted through the nearly empty refrigerator and bare cupboards and came up with a jar of anchovies, a small bunch of sprouting broccoli, garlic, a lemon, a box of pasta and some stale bread. That was enough for me to squeeze dinner from; and it turned out surprisingly tasty.

Petite Spicy Croutons
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, sliced in half
4 small pieces good quality, stale bread (or fresh, toasted in the toaster), ripped into small pieces
Couple of shakes of cayenne pepper
Sea salt

2 tablespoons EVOO
1 tablespoon butter
4-5 anchovy fillets
1 large shallot, sliced
1 small bunch sprouting broccoli, chopped into small pieces (or 1/2 bunch regular broccoli, chopped)
Zest of 1 lemon, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
8 ounces pasta

Petite Spicy Croutons
Melt the EVOO and butter in a pan set over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Now add in the bread pieces, sprinkle with cayenne and salt and toss. Cook until they are golden-ish and crunchy. Set aside.

Have water boiling. Start the sauce when you put the pasta on to boil. Pour the EVOO, butter and anchovies into a large saute pan. Set over medium-high heat. Once the oil/butter are hot, the anchovies will begin to dissolve, swirl the pan and add in the shallot. Cook until the shallot is soft, then add in the broccoli and lemon zest. Swipe a ladle of pasta cooking water from the pot and pour into the sauce pan along with the juice of half a lemon. Cover and cook, on high, until the broccoli is just barely tender (about 2-5 minutes, depending on how big the pieces are). Uncover and drizzle in the heavy cream, taste and add salt if desired.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, toss and sprinkle with cheese. plate it up and top with the petite, spicy croutons.

Serves 2-4

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