BROCCOLI GARLIC PASTA: Fast & Easy

broccoli garlic pasta9 textBroccoli Garlic Pasta is a new addition to my list of favorite dinners. It’s one of those recipes that I create in order to use up an ingredient that would soon be going bad – in this case, it was mushrooms. I threw in other items I had on hand – the pièce de résistance being the Feta cheese, which made all the difference.

Note: If you make your own pasta (which I do), use a 1 cup flour recipe – more than that is too much pasta for the sauce in this recipe.

BROCCOLI GARLIC PASTA – makes about 6 cups or so

  • 6 oz uncooked pasta (I use spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cups raw broccoli, bite-sized pieces
  • 2 T garlic, pressed (use less if you don’t like a lot of garlic)
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 5 oz (2 cups) mushrooms, chopped (I use white mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup (about 4) scallions, green & white part, sliced
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 T flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I use vermouth)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 6 oz Feta cheese (I use fat-free), crumbled
  • 2½ oz (1 cup) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (or any hard cheese)
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped

In a large pot, cook the pasta until almost done (al dente) – you want it undercooked so it can absorb the sauce. Drain.

Into the now empty pot, heat the butter and oil. Add in the broccoli, garlic, red pepper, mushrooms, scallions, and red pepper flakes. Over medium/high flame, sauté veggies for 1-2 minutes. broccoli garlic pasta8Kill heat and sprinkle on flour. Over low flame, stir 1-2 minutes to slightly thicken the liquid and cook-off the flour taste. broccoli garlic pasta7Add in the wine and cream. Cook over medium heat about 1 minute. broccoli garlic pasta1Stir in the Feta, Pecorino, and parsley. Stir in the pasta and heat through. Pour into serving bowl (or let remain in pot), cover, and let set for about 5 minutes to allow pasta to absorb the liquid and thicken up.broccoli garlic pasta3

 

TOMATOES & BASIL & PASTA – Oh, My!

IMG_3767

TOMATO & CAMEMBERT TOPPED SPAGHETTI

 

It’s all happening in the garden! Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, basil, and, of course, the ever-present zucchini. Nature is in full bounty!

Whether you grow your own veggies or buy from a farmer’s market, there’s a world of difference between farm fresh and the flavorless produce at the grocery store. So let’s enjoy these garden glories while we can.

I’ve been making Tomato & Camembert Topped Spaghetti for years and have always used dried basil in the dish. It’s so much easier and I figured dried is the same thing as fresh minus the water, right? Well, as it turns out, while that may be technically true,  where taste is concerned, fresh is absolutely superior. I recently made this dish using some leftover fresh basil I had (you know me – waste not, want not!) – my mouth was aglow with flavor.

Nothing but fresh from now on in this recipe!

Tomato & Camembert Topped Spaghetti obviously calls for spaghetti (or linguine) noodles. I make my own pasta (no surprise to those of you loyal followers of my blog). I’ve included the recipe for the brave souls out there willing to give it a go.

TIP:  An easy way to chop basil is to put the leaves in a cup and snip away with kitchen shears.            This photo shows me chopping parsley, but it’s the same principle.

parsley snipping

TOMATO & CAMEMBERT TOPPED SPAGHETTI – makes enough for 3

  • 10½ oz spaghetti or linguine pasta (recipe follows – or buy pre-made)
  • 3 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 lb Camembert cheese, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • about 1/3 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded

Boil pasta until done. Drain.

As pasta is cooking, put the tomatoes, Camembert, olive oil, basil, garlic, and salt into a large serving bowl and blend. Mix in cooked pasta. Can be served immediately as a warmish dish, or refrigerated and served cold.

To each serving sprinkle on Romano (or Parmesan) and ground pepper.

HOMEMADE PASTA – makes 10.5 oz (approximately 3 servings)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • additional water, if needed

Into the workbowl of your food processor, put the eggs, olive oil and flour. Whirl, stopping now and then to scrape the loose flour into dough. The goal is for the dough to be able to form a ball when dough is squeezed. Add a teaspoon of water at a time, if needed. However, you don’t want it too wet.  If it’s sticky, add a tablespoon at a time of flour and mix.

I use the Atlas hand crank pasta machine. For my pasta maker, I start with a setting of ‘1’ and work my way to ‘5’. Then I run the dough through the spaghetti cutter.

There are a number of youtube videos about making homemade pasta that would be a good idea to watch.