Monday, March 19, 2012

Pasta & Broccoli

This is an Italian dish we learned how to make from our friend Lucian.  It's great because it's an entire meal in one dish, and it really lets the flavor of the ingredients shine through.  The chunks of pepperoni crisp up and become super tasty morsels mixed in with the pasta and steamed broccoli.  The garlic and red pepper flakes add some bite to the dish, and the Parmesan cheese rounds it out with some creaminess.  All in all, it's a wonderfully tasty dish that is simple, comforting, and very easy to make.
1 lb pasta (we used farfalle, but any short pasta will work)
1/2 lb pepperoni (ask for two 1/2 inch thick slices at the deli counter)
2 lbs broccoli (about two bunches), crowns and upper stalks chopped into bite-size pieces
1 shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

Heat a large pan over medium heat (we used our caldero).  Cut the pepperoni into little 1/2 inch cubes and place them in the hot pan.  Cook for about 15 minutes, flipping the pepperoni occasionally to make sure all sides crisp evenly.  Meanwhile, heat a large pot of heavily salted water over high for the pasta.

It should be nicely browned, but not too dark.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Add the garlic and shallot with a pinch of salt, and saute for a couple minutes until they start to turn golden.  Add the red pepper flakes and stir to combine.  Meanwhile- add your pasta to the boiling water and cook for one minute less than the suggested cooking time.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining.
Place the broccoli in the pan with the pepperoni and stir to combine.  Add the pasta water and 1/2 t salt.  Stir and leave covered for 5-7 minutes to steam the broccoli.  Stir occasionally to make sure the broccoli is evenly cooking.  
When it is cooked to your desired consistency remove from heat and pour the broccoli and pepperoni mixture in with the drained pasta.   Stir in 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 t freshly ground pepper.  Serve with remaining Parmesan on top.  Enjoy!

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