I am such a huge fan of broccoli. Everything about the broccoli appeals to me, the shape, the colour, the taste and the wonderful ways you can utilise it in your cooking.
This recipe is one that I came up with one afternoon when I was feeling somewhere in between, “yeah, I could eat” and “starting to feel famished”. I only had a few ingredients to work with and so I started with just a small broccoli, 1/4 of a bag of penne and some chicken stock. I boiled the broccoli in the stock until it was soft enough to mash. Then I prepared the pasta as instructed on the packaging and combined it with the smashed broccoli, seasoned with salt and pepper and bon appetit.
The result wasn’t life altering but it wasn’t bad for a healthy snack that got me be back down to, “I’ll eat it if it’s in front of me but I probably don’t need it”, which is a good thing considering, there really was nothing left to eat.
Since then, this simple recipe has evolved and is tasting better than ever. It can also be eaten cold so it’s great for picnics. Check out the new and improved version just below.
- 1 decent sized broccoli, discard the end of the stalk, cut the rest of the stalk into small chunks and separate the florets.
- 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup of Farfalle pasta
- 1/2L water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 5 medium-sized button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil, hand torn
- 1 cup spinach packed tightly, washed
- 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 birds eye chilli, seeds discarded, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
1. Bring the stock to boiling point and add broccoli. Cook until soft and tender. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Using a potato masher, press the broccoli into the stock until broccoli becomes a course pulp.
2. At the same time, boil the water for the pasta with a generous pinch of salt. I find this always helps the water to boil quicker. Add the pasta to boiling water and wait for the water to get back to boiling point. Then turn the heat down to low or a simmer and allow the pasta to cook for another 7 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Drain and refresh with cold water.
3.While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a fry pan and add garlic and chilli. Fry for a few seconds, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn, then add the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms start to brown, add the basil and the wine and allow the flavors to infuse the mushrooms for a further 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the spinach.
4. In the same pan as the mushrooms and spinach, add the pasta, broccoli mash and Parmesan cheese. Combine well with tongs. Salt and pepper as desired, although you’ll find that you probably wont need much salt as there’s salt content in the stock and the cheese. Lastly, drizzle with a good quality virgin olive oil before serving.
Alternatively you could use feta cheese instead of the Parmesan. If you’d prefer this as a cold dish for picnics or as a packed lunch then I would recommend the former rather than the latter. Once Parmesan has been heated and left cold, it tends to have a funny texture. You could also, leave the cheese out of the last step and just add it in when you’re ready to consume, then you can use either. Pecorino cheese will also work well with this dish.
This can also be made into a non-vegetarian dish. Just fry off some roughly chopped prosciutto with the chilli and garlic and then add the mushrooms and ta-daaa, you have yourself a tasty meat version.
Hope you’ve enjoyed Cooking With Lee Lee. If you have any questions about the recipe or if you’ve tried my recipe and want to share your thoughts, please leave me a comment.
It’s definitely worth every calorie!
Love Lee Lee =)