Celebrate Love With Pasta Con Broccoli
Just because it has broccoli in it and no meat, doesn’t mean it won’t stick to your ribs. This is a rich dish that you can make as a reward for being good all week. I love fettuccine, but only have it once in a great while as there is pasta, olive oil, and at least a cup of half-and-half. In the words of the executive chef at a fancy restaurant where I once was employed, “Fat equals flavor.”
Darned if it isn’t true. Well, it has been a lean week and I think a feast is in order. After all my Jeff and I will be celebrating our anniversary this weekend so a special dinner like this will be lovely, with candles lit, music playing, and the kids downstairs watching a movie. Usually we host a block party to commemorate our anniversary where we go all out. That’ll be next week though. So this night is just for us.
I warm up some Italian bread in the oven. Then I assemble these ingredients which come together pretty quickly.
- A bag of wide egg noodles which I boil in salted water for 10 minutes and drain
- Broccoli that I steamed in the microwave (about 1 cup of small pieces)
- A diced small onion
- About 10 grape tomatoes halved
- Three or four sliced button mushrooms
- One tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- About a cup of half-and-half cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- First, in a stock pot I cook the pasta and drain it. At the same time I steam the broccoli in about 1/3 cup of water with a lid loosely over it for 3 minutes in the microwave on high power.
- Then I get the other vegetables going. In a skillet I pour about a tablespoon of oil, throw in the veggies, season with salt and pepper and let them get tender and golden brown around the edges. Yum!
- The pasta is cooked and drained, so I throw it back into the pot
with about a cup of half-and-half, or enough to completely cover the bottom of the pot about a centimeter deep. I add the parmesan cheese, the garlic powder and a little more salt and pepper. At this point I just let it sit on top of the noodles until I turn the heat up to high and let the cream bubble up between the noodles. When the cream is bubbling up is the time to stir the parmesan and seasonings in. Now the pasta is coated with a thick and creamy Alfredo sauce. The vegetables are nice and brown and the broccoli is just al-dente. I pour the broccoli in, even all the water in which it was steamed. Then all the browned vegetables go in after it. Giving everything a good stir, I then check the seasoning. It might need a touch more salt. This batch is OK.
The final touch is to garnish it off with some parmesan fresh from the grater. It gives an elegant touch and clues you in on what delicious flavor is about to hit your taste buds. I toss together a little leaf salad with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, grated parmesan and Italian dressing. It’s now time to light the candles, turn on the music, and celebrate our ten years of amore vero (true love).