stuck in a rut
Now that the holiday retail season is over, I have more time to try new recipes. In my cookbook collection I have Michael Chiarello's book, The Tre Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country." Being winter, I gravitated towards that section of the book to find a decidedly different type of pasta dish to make. The recipe, Broccoli and Cauliflower with Shell Pasta sounded intriguing. Ingredients called for broccoli, cauliflower, chicken stock, shell shaped pasta, fresh rosemary, orange zest, raisins, pancetta or bacon. I used Wegmans uncured bacon, applewood smoked.
The recipe is a two pot meal, one for the sauce, one for cooking the pasta. While heating up the pasta water, I began my mise en place in order for the process to move along quickly. Once the vegetables are blanched, I placed them in the sauce to keep warm until the pasta was done cooking.
Within thirty minutes, I had my supper on the table. I added a bit more broccoli and cauliflower just to shift the ratio of vegetables to pasta. It was really delicious. I didn't feel guilty eating pasta because of the vegetables. The small amount of bacon gave you a bit of smokiness, crunch and the taste of meat that one may look for. The addition of the organge zest, raisins and fresh parsley gave the sauce a brightness and a bit of pepperoncini gave just a hint of heat. Delizioso!
Broccoli and Cauliflower with Shell Pasta
The Tre Vigne Cookbook, Seasons in the California Wine Country © 1999
By Michael Chiarello
3/4 pound broccoli florets
3/4 pound cauliflower florets
3/4 pound small dried pasta shells (I used orecchiette)
1/4 cup diced pancetta or thickly sliced bacon (1/4-inch dice; about a 3 ounces)
About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1-1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/2 cup raisin
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, ricotta salads or dry Jack, or aged goat cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add the broccoli florets and cook quickly until just tender and still bright green, about 4 minutes. Dip the broccoli out with a sieve, shake off take excess water, and scatter on a baking sheet to cool. Repeat with the cauliflower. Reserve the water for cooking the pasta.
Return the vegetable cooking water to a rolling boil, and add more salt and the pasta, and cook until al denote, about 12 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce: Heat together the pancetta and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook slowly until well browned and crisp. Tilt the pan to collect the fat in a little pool against the side and scape the pancetta into the fat. Cook for another minute to make sure the pancetta is very crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Set the pancetta aside.
Add olive oil to the pan as needed to make about 1/4 cup fat. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Working quickly, add the garlic and cook until light brown. While standing back to avoid inhaling fumes and being splatter, add the red pepper flakes, rosemary and stock. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and scraping up all the brown bits that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan, to concentrate flavors a bit, about 2 minutes. Add the orange zest, raisins, parsley and reserved pancetta and cook for another minute or so. Add the broccoli and cauliflower and stir and toss several minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
When the pasta is done, drain, and if, there is room, Tauren into the sauté pan holding the vegetables and toss. If no, pour the pasta into a warm serving boil, immediately add the contents of the sauté pan, and toss well. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve immediately. Pass the cheese at the table.
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.