Farro Penne with Broccoli
Michael Crupain, MD, MPH
Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables (Mike R’s too!) and we both eat it every chance we get. This recipe give the basic technique for cooking broccoli. I love broccoli so much that I use a whole bunch for one meal, but in the recipe below I suggest have a bunch per person. You can just eat the broccoli on its own, but here I show how to turn it into a quick pasta dish that great hot or cold.
I use farro pasta here, because of all the whole grain pastas I think its the best. Its also the most traditional, because in Puglia, farro is often used to make pasta.
About 4 quarts Water
2 T Salt
1/2 Bunch Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, or Broccolini (or more if you love Broccoli like I do)
2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic
½-1t Chili Flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
1 Cup of whole grain penne (farro is the best if you can find it)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fill 4-quart pot with water, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top, and put on stove to boil on high. While the water is coming to a boil prepare the broccoli.
Wash broccoli and cut off tough bottom part of stem. Using a peeler, peel the outer layer of the stalk (this will make sure you don’t have any tough stringy broccoli). Cut the florets from the stalk, trying to get a consistent size. Cut the stalk into quarters and dice. disks and cut the disks into quarters.
When the water is boiling, add the salt. When the water returns to a boil add all of the broccoli pieces. You want to cook the broccoli until the water just starts to come back to a boil again, which should be around 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, you want the broccoli to still be crisp. When done, remove the broccoli to a colander using a spider or slotted spoon to drain. Shake colander to remove excess water and let the broccoli sit for a few minutes. The drier it is, the better your sauté will be.
While the broccoli is resting peel and then halve, slice, or shop the garlic, depending on how much garlic flavor you want in the final product. If you want a subtle infusion half the cloves and add them to the oil before the broccoli. If you want a little more garlic flavor add the chopped pieces or slivers almost at the end, so they can still cook but won’t brown.
Now Cook the pasta and sauté the broccoli.
With water boiling again, add pasta. Set time for 1 or 2 minutes less than package instructions.
When you have seven minutes left on the timer, heat a sauté pan with the olive oil over medium high heat. If your using the chili flakes add them into too. When the oil is shimmering, and flows easily or when you see the chili flakes starting to wobble around, your oil is hot enough for the sauté. If its starts smoking it’s too hot. You should have about 5 minutes left. Add the broccoli and allow it to remain undisturbed in the pan for about a minute or more. Next add your slivered or chopped garlic now. Cook for another two minutes or so, flipping the broccoli one more times if necessary to reach the desired level of doneness—we like ours to still be toothsome. At this point the pasta should be done. Using the spider, transfer the pasta from the water to the pan with the broccoli over medium heat. Toss, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.