Quick linguine with broccoli, chilli and garlic

This is why I feel sorry for broccoli:

1. No-one really cares that it’s packed with nutrients like zinc, potassium, calcium, vitamins A, B, C, and K as well as both insoluble and soluble fibre

2. It’s a distinctly unfashionable vegetable

3. It tastes like it comes from the planet Zorg.

Subsequently, it’s the superfood that never was.

I’m always on the lookout for recipes that make healthy things taste good, so when my aunt placed a bowl of pasta and broccoli before us this December, I was impressed. The pasta actually tasted good!

The original recipe for my version used the entire head of broccoli, stems and all. I’m taking the broccoli-loving thing one step at a time so I discarded most of the stems. If you’re less wasteful and more broad-minded than I am, click here for some great ideas for using up those stems.

Three essential ingredients in this recipe really help to eliminate that Zorgy flavour from the broccoli: lots of garlic, a little chilli and some vegetable stock.

QUICK LINGUINE WITH BROCCOLI, CHILLI AND GARLIC

Serves 4

300g linguine (or spaghetti)

2 tablespoons of powdered vegetable stock

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets, stems discarded

4 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, grated

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh red chilli (or more!)

Salt, to taste

pecorino or parmesan cheese, to serve

1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add one tablespoon of stock powder. Throw in broccoli florets. Cook for two minutes, then remove from water using a slotted spoon. *Do not discard the water!*

2. Add the second tablespoon of stock to the boiling water. Cook the pasta in that broccoli-infused water (yum) until done. Drain.

3. In another pot, heat up the olive oil over moderate heat. Saute garlic until aromatic. Add the chilli, followed by the broccoli florets. Keep the broccoli moving about in the pot. Cook for up to minute, depending on how crunchy you want your broccoli.

4. Add the pasta; season.

5. Serve hot, topped with cheese.

No parmesan or pecorino? No worries! Use any white cheese instead; but double the amount of stock you use.

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