Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fusilli with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Beachwood pick-up this week:

Carrots (beautiful slender carrots with their tops)
Red spicy mustard greens
Tat soi
Baby bok choy
Red leaf lettuce

We had more rain today; and hail, too! It felt like a good day for something hearty to eat. Pasta, especially whole wheat pasta, is a great start to a healthy and hearty meal. I love pasta because the combinations are endless. You can be creative by tossing your favorite seasonal ingredients with your favorite pasta. Here's a quick and easy recipe for a tasty winter dish.

Fusilli with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

2-3 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
1/3 C olive oil
3 C chopped broccoli (chopped as described below)
1/2 C water
scant 1/4 t hot red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1/2 C chopped tightly packed sun-dried tomatoes*
1/3 C grated Parmiggiano cheese + more for serving
1 lb dried whole wheat fusilli (or other pasta if you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Fill a large pot with 4 qts water. Cover and bring to a boil.

2. Chop the garlic or slice it thinly, whatever you prefer.

3. Chop the broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. Include the stems, but if they're thick, peel them first. Slice the stems 1/4" thick and chop into halves or quarters if the stem is thick.

4. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and cook the garlic over medium-high heat until golden, about 1 minute.

5. Add the chopped broccoli, water, and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2-3 minutes. Then uncover and continue cooking until broccoli is tender and nearly all of the water has evaporated, about 7-8 minutes. [If the water evaporates too quickly, you can add a little pasta water.]

6. While the broccoli is cooking, cook the pasta as directed on the package.

7. When the broccoli is tender and most of the water has evaporated, lower the heat and add the sun-dried tomatoes and the grated cheese. Stir to incorporate the cheese.

8. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 C cooking water. If the broccoli mixture is too thick, add a little of the pasta water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. Add the drained pasta to the mixture and toss until combined. Remove from heat and serve with additional grated cheese.

Serves 4-5 as a generous main course, 8 or more as a side dish.

*Sun-dried tomatoes are a wonderful way to sneak a taste of summer into a winter dish. They're easy to make when tomatoes are plentiful. Pack them in oil and they'll keep all year. If you don't have any sun-dried tomatoes from your own garden, the Beachwood Market sells Christopher Ranch sun-dried tomatoes in oil from Gilroy, CA as well as Sonoma brand. And if you don't know how to make sun-dried tomatoes, we'll be offering a class this summer.

Omnivores may want to add cooked and crumbled Italian sausage to their Fusilli with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Saute 1/2 lb bulk sausage (sweet or hot, your taste), drain, crumble, and add at Step 7 with the sun-dried tomatoes and cheese.



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