Pasta con Broccoli, Por Favore

Are you acquainted with MHz? It’s a less well known public broadcasting network that we discovered by the grace of our converter box. Most nights find Hubby and me watching their “International Mystery” rather than the offerings on network TV. One night viewers might find a procedural from Germany or a walk on humanity’s dark side from Sweden; another a look at cultural clashes through the eyes of an Australian police officer.  

This winter’s salvation arrived in the form of Saturday afternoons with our favorite detective, “Inspector Montalbano.” In addition to catching the culprit, Salvo and the gang from Vigata have likely kept us from wandering off into the swirling whiteness engulfing the fields around our house throughout this too-long too-drawn out winter. Here’s a taste in the form of a promo from a couple of seasons ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js74ASrRbxM. 

While solving the murder offers plenty of twists and turns, there are some guarantees for each episode: Salvo will get into an argument with Livia, his longterm lady friend, and throw a cordless phone; Catarella, the officer who handles the phones, will irritate Salvo at least once and mispronounce someone’s name ; and Salvo will enjoy his food. One of his favorites is pasta and broccoli.

It’s become one of my favorites, too. Easy to make and on the table in less than 30 minutes. Pour some good olive oil into a small pan and slice in lots of garlic. I use anywhere from three to five cloves depending on size and my attention span. Add a good shake of red pepper flakes. Place over a low flame and gently heat until the aroma of garlic fills the room. Don’t let the garlic get brown. Now, fill your favorite pasta pot with salted water and broccoli. The florets of one stalk usually do it for the two of us. Bring to a boil, and then add the pasta. I’ve been using brown rice fettuccini. Takes about ten minutes to cook. When done, drain and pour the lovely garlic oil over it, grate Parmesan or asiago on top of it, and you really won’t care what the weather is doing.

Unless the electricity goes out and you can’t watch Salvo and company. You’ll still have a lovely bowl of pasta, but it’s just not right without the music, the scenery, and the humor of daily life in Sicily. 

 

 

 

Wednesday Musings

Another storm system waltzed through the Chicago/NW Indiana area last night. Knowing that this morning was going to be a cold wet mess, I dropped  Oakley off at day care yesterday instead of today. He played while I picked up the necessary and sufficient supplies. The snow arrived as I was picking him up and wove itself into a white blanket as we pulled up the driveway. I’m allowing myself the luxury of being a little self-congratulatory on my timing of last night’s ventures. 

Caputo’s had an insanely good price on organic broccoli yesterday–69 cents a pound. I stuffed a bag with it and made gluten free pasta with broccoli. Did I give the recipe? If I didn’t, this is how you do it: make paper-thin slices of 4-6 whole fresh garlic cloves and place them into a small frying pan with extra virgin olive oil and a good shake of red pepper flakes. Heat slo-o-o-w-w-w-ly and gently until you can smell the garlic. While that’s going on, break broccoli into florettes, and put them into your favorite pasta pot with plenty of water to cook them and the pasta (I used Tinkyada brown rice fettuccini). When the broccoli is good and cooked and the pasta’s done, drain–don’t rinse. The starch helps the oil and the broccoli bits stick to the pasta. Now, pour in the lovely garlic and pepper infused olive oil, and mix. I topped off mine with shredded Asiago cheese. Perfect antidote to the weather. Oh, and an orange for dessert. If you don’t or can’t do cheese, try some toasted chopped pecans or walnuts. 

This morning, the clouds have dissipated to a thin veil. Hubby and I will have leftover broccoli and pasta for lunch with strawberries for dessert. Oakley is napping, dreaming of his upcoming bonus day care day on Friday. I don’t know if he know that it’s going to be a spa day or not–he’ll be getting a bath and a nail trim then. 

We stay in the moment, yet we count the 42 days to spring.