Some vegetables — kohlrabi, for example — practically shout “Eat me! I’m Local!” Broccoli, however, doesn’t fall into this camp. A nutritious, quick-cooking stand-by, broccoli could be the poster child for the busy family’s dinner.
Which is to say, you might find it hard to muster up the energy to do something different with it when you get broccoli at the market or in your farm share delivery. Rather than steaming or boiling it next time, why not turn it into the basis for a meal? This Pasta with Broccoli Sauce takes only a few minutes more to cook than what you’d be doing anyway, and instead of getting a ho-hum side dish, you end up with a surprisingly dressy main-course.
Pasta with Broccoli Sauce
Boil a few cups of salted water. Chop a large head of broccoli into bite-sized florets and thinly slice the stems. Set the florets aside, then add the stems to the boiling water (make sure broccoli is fully immersed) and cook until very tender. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Puree, then add a tablespoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil or a few tablespoons of butter and season with salt and pepper – you want the sauce to be rich and velvety.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and start cooking eight ounces of pasta. When the pasta has 3 or 4 minutes left, add the florets and cook until both are just done. Drain the pasta and florets, then toss with the broccoli sauce and thin with a tablespoon or two of reserved cooking water, if necessary. Adjust seasonings and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.