Guys, it's a saladbook recipe. Are you excited? Well, you should be. I mean, there is no salad, there is no book. But there is broccoli.
the blog post where I first discovered it, it's truly the best broccoli of your life. (Incidentally, said blog -- the Amateur Gourmet,
which was a pretty lovable blog to begin with, just got better: its
writer, Adam, has just moved to Los Angeles from New York, and it's
pretty fascinating seeing to see the city I know and love through the
wide, hungry eyes of a newcomer. Imagine discovering Thai Town, Zankou
Chicken, or beloved Gjelina, for the first time all over again! And
this sweet soul hasn't even tried the Golden State burger yet! Ah, so
much to look forward to!)
Anyway, roasting broccoli with bits of garlic in the oven until its little tendrily 'leaves' become crisp and browned and totally heightened in savory flavor is the absolute most delicious way to eat broccoli ever. Super easy to make, too -- major return on investment. Tonight, I tossed the broccoli with some whole-grain fettucine to turn it into a meal.
The spirit of the saladbook is simple homey meals that don't sacrifice taste, but still maintain a good balance of vegetables, whole grains, and good protein. I hit the first two, but to get some protein in there, I added some parmesan cheese (yeah cheese is kind of fatty, but good parmesan adds huge flavor with a small portion), and some chopped pecans. I think pine nuts would actually be better, but I dealt with evil car dealership issues so horrendous today that I had to resort to a salted caramel mocha frappuccino. With whipped cream. And that insane starbucks caramel sauce. Heaven. All of which is to say is that going to the store after work was no-way-no-how going to happen. Thus, chopped pecans from the freezer. This recipe also happens to be vegetarian (vegan if you omit the parmesan). Of course, you could change that. Remember our old friend Adam from paragraph one? Sometimes he throws some shrimp into the oven with his broccoli. Might be even tastier than salted caramel mocha frappuccino.
Pasta with Roasted Broccoli
My sister swears by the browned bits of garlic in this recipe ("They're like candy", she says), and she may have converted me. So, by all means, feel free to use more. And on the topic of proportions, I won't tell you what to eat and what not to eat (oh wait), but consider what lovely Mark Bittman has to say about flipping the pasta-to-topping ratio. He makes a good point.
1 1/2 c broccoli florets, rinsed and fully dried
1 clove garlic, chopped
extra virgin olive oil (use a tasty one; it's a simple recipe)
1 sensible portion whole-grain pasta (I used fettucine)
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped pecans
Bring a pot of water to a boil; preheat oven or toaster oven to 425F. Line a baking pan with foil and add broccoli. Drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic, and toss again to combine. Roast broccoli for about 15-20 minutes.
In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions, then drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
Start checking on the broccoli at about 15 minutes. When it's bright green, cooked through but still crisp, and just beginning to brown, add in the nuts, give the pan a toss, and cook for another 3 minutes.
Toss pasta with broccoli mixture (you can use the same pot you used to cook the pasta). Add some more olive oil, salt, and pepper. If it's dry, add a spoonful or two of the reserved pasta water. Squeeze on some lemon juice. Top, on the plate, with grated or shaved parmesan cheese.