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a yummy substitute for maccas: pasta with broccoli and anchovies

pasta broc and anch
One of my favourite things to do is to throw a dinner party. Once or twice a fortnight I’ll invite up to half a dozen of my friends around and cook up a couple of different things (I can’t seem to only ever cook one thing – I always get carried away) and uncork several bottles of wine. It’s a fantastic way to see your friends and it’s often less expensive than going out.

The only drawback to doing this on such a regular basis is that my repertoire of infallible recipes can become exhausted. I don’t want to serve my friends the same thing over and over; even though I know they love me and would be happy to eat whatever I put in front of them, my pride insists I come up with fancy new recipes. I’ve had this conversation with many of my female friends – so much of how we express love is through food and producing food that is unoriginal often feels like we’re saying, ‘yeah, you love me and I know you always will, so here’s a dish of whatever’. (I do realise that this is slightly insane).

In an effort to come up with recipes that I hadn’t served up before I tried to think of combinations of food that seemed unlikely but would turn out to be surprisingly good. I hit the Jamie Oliver cookbooks as he is fantastic when it comes to putting food together in surprising combinations.

I found a recipe of his that put broccoli with pasta. This seemed odd to me, probably because when I was growing up, broccoli was never thoroughly combined  with anything – it was steamed and put on the side of the main part of the meal as the ‘don’t forget to eat your greens, they’ll make you grow up to be big and strong’ portion of dinner.  I didn’t really mind eating my obligatory four pieces of broccoli at dinner but I didn’t get excited over it either.

This recipe presents broccoli as the hero of the dish and it is super tasty. I didn’t think broccoli could be interesting, let alone go well with pasta, but it really does. Lesson learnt! Enjoy.

Pasta with Broccoli and Anchovies

Ingredients:

10 anchovies and 2 tbsp of the oil it comes in
½ cup of parmesan
2 tbsp capers
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 packet of spiral pasta (or a ‘short’ pasta of your choice)
2 heads of broccoli, florets trimmed

Method:

Place a large pot of heavily salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, place the parmesan, anchovies and oil, garlic, capers, herbs and the stems from the broccoli in a food processer. Blend until smooth (this may take a while).

Once this is done, heat a medium sized pan and add the blended broccoli stem mixture along with ½ a cup of water. Stir regularly while cooking.

Once the water is boiling add the pasta and cook per packet instructions. Approximately 2 minutes before the pasta is done add the broccoli florets to the water (make sure you don’t cook the broccoli for more than two minutes as it will go soggy).

Drain the pasta and broccoli. Take the pan with the broccoli stem sauce off the heat and add the pasta and broccoli florets. Toss thoroughly.

Serve with extra parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy!

Serves 4

This recipe was inspired by “Jamie’s 30 minute Meals”, Penguin Group, 2010.

By Emma Robinson

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