Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Penne with Broccoli and Tomato


There's a Romanesco broccoli in my box. It has tight lime-green spirals and I know it will taste terrific in this pasta sauce.

The sauce has olives in it. I cured local olives, which make lovely nibbles, but they aren't strong enough for pasta. And the other local olives I have found so far have been soft and bland compared to the olives from overseas. "No like it," say the little ones. So I use international olives because, at this point of my life, the benefit of having my children love and eat this dish far outweighs the value of buying local.

Penne with Broccoli and Tomato

- 1 head of broccoli. Romanesco is especially delicious here, but regular broccoli is good, too.
- 5 fresh tomatoes, or a jar of home-preserved tomatoes, or a can of tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, bashed with the flat side of a knife then chopped
- a handful of black olives
- 5 or so stalks flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- olive oil
- half a packet of penne
- Parmesan or other hard cheese, grated

Put a large pot of water up to boil.

If you are using fresh tomatoes, plunge them into boiling water then peel, seed and chop them.

Gently heat a slosh of olive oil in a wide frying pan. Add the garlic and cook gently until just beginning to colour, then add the tomatoes (whether fresh or from a can). Leave to simmer gently.

Plunge the broccoli into the boiling water. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until it is just tender, then remove with a slotted spoon and add to the tomato mixture.

Bring the water back to the boil, salt well and add the pasta. Cook according to the packet directions.

While it is cooking, pit the olives by pressing gently on them with the base of a glass. Tear them in half and throw them into the tomato broccoli mixture. Break up the broccoli with the back of a spoon until it is crumbled through the tomato sauce. Add ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water to the sauce, and stir in the parsley.

Drain the pasta and add to the broccoli tomato sauce. Stir to combine, and check for seasoning.

Serve with plenty of grated cheese.

(Local: broccoli, fresh tomatoes, garlic, parsley, olive oil. Victorian: pasta from Victorian wheat. Definitely not local: olives, parmesan. Photo shows a regular broccoli, when I made the sauce another day.)

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