Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pasta with Broccoli p. 516

Ingredients: broccoli, olive oil, garlic, pasta, salt and pepper.

Most recipes I have an idea of what they'll be like before I begin. This one I wasn't so sure about. Just broccoli and pasta?

First boil your broccoli for about 5 to 10 minutes. In a seperate pan put your olive oil over the heat and add your garlic. Once the broccoli is boiled add it into the olive oil and garlic. You'll cook it for a few minutes while the pasta is cooking. While it is doing so, smash the broccoli with the back of your spoon. Yeah, I know, a bit different.

In the previous pot with the water, boil your pasta. Once your pasta is cooked add into the skillet with your broccoli and garlic.

Then serve. I topped mine with a bunch of Parmesan cheese, which was nice. Overall it was very easy to make, but just lacked a little pizazz or something. I don't know.


  1. The standard for this recipe is pasta with broccoli rabe and Italian sausage, which is one of the variation. In addition, substituting caulifolower for broccoli is even blandier. Many vegeterian pasta recipes look very bland: pasta with leeks, pasta with onions, pasta with carrots, etc.
    Some pasta dishes with proteins like pasta with spicy crabs are also bland. Paul.

  2. In page 517, Mr. Bittman suggests to add bacon (item 11) or grilled/roasted chicken (item 13) to boost the flavor. I would add ham (American Prosciutto (sp?), which is a lot cheaper to the list, as suggested by Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) cookbook. About chicken, I saw from a cooking show that the host added left-over rotisserie chicken to a penne with pesto sauce dish (p. 507), but you can make the chicken on your own. There are many bland vegetarian pasta dishes in this book and there are two protein based pasta dishes, which use olive oil sauces: pasta with spicy crabs or spicy shrimp (p. 528). Olive oil sauce is not flavorful comparing with tomato sauce or butter sauce. One way to salvage these recipes is to make "chow meins" out of them - a miture of noodle, protein and vegetables. So, I would cut the amount of vegetables and proteins in half from the original recipes, and combine them to make one dish. For example, you could have Pasta with Spicy Crab/or Shrimp and Broccoli (or asparagus (BHG), spinach (BHG), mushroom, carrots, onion, cabbage, etc.). Paul.

  3. I recently cooked the pasta with greens (p. 517), which is the first variation and found the greens (florida broad leaf mustard green) is tasteless in the pasta. After consulting the Good Housekeeping cookbook, I found that Mr. Bittman's procedure is flawed. The book says to cook the broccoli in the pot for cooking the pasta. The problem is that most of the flavor from the broccoli goes into the water and later throw away, after cooking the pasta (notice that the water is green). The correct procedure, which is from GHK book, is to chop the broccoli coarsely. In the skillet, cook the garlic at medium heat for 3 minutes, then add the broccoli along with 1/4 cup of water and cook covered for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In this way, all of the juice from the broccoli stay with the dish. Many people think that Bittman's book ressembles the Joy, but I think GHK book is more similar. That book is underated at Amazon. Paul.