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Pasta Con Broccoli for #NoBuyJanuary

Hello lovely people.  I hope all is well and you and your family have been staying safe.  That vaccine feeling is in the air.  My friends and family in health care, in multiple states, have gotten their first dose of the vaccine (if not second).  Family friends down in Texas have gotten their first dose and my in-laws a couple states over have an appointment for their first dose. Al Roker got his too.  Very exciting!  It seems like a pinprick of light at the end of a very long tunnel.  We here in St. Louis County seem to be behind as it is still only healthcare workers and people who live in nursing homes but I hope we will catch up soon!  I know we all want to be done with all this but let’s keep our guard up for a bit longer.  We can do it!

Meanwhile, back here in our home I’m still focused on #NoBuyJanuary.  Have I done a perfect job, no.  Have I done pretty good, yes!

I was going to make pancakes the other day which would have used up a lot of things in the house but I would have needed to buy buttermilk.  Then I remembered I had a loaf of brioche in the trusty freezer downstairs.  I had EVERYTHING here to make French toast.  I even had lemon curd and cranberry curd in the freezer so I broke those out too.   Lemon curd = French Toast 2.0!

I found packaged, individual-sized pie shells in my pantry.  What ever possessed me to buy them, I don’t know?  But, now that I had thawed curds I made mini meringue pies.  The girls both chose lemon.  The beauty of having multiple curds for pies you make at home… you don’t have to choose.  Husband said he wanted both and I copied him.  Great decision!  I whipped up some Italian meringue, spooned it on the lemon tarts and piped it onto the lemon-cranberry tarts.  That way we knew what was what.  So Good!

I had Short-Rib Pot Pie (pg. 99 in your cookbook) filling in the basement freezer and 1 sheet of puff pastry in the kitchen freezer.  Well, I thought I had 1 sheet of puff pastry.  Turns out I had pot pie filling but not enough for an actual pie and four little squares of puff pastry in the freezer.  No problem, quick adjustment of the plan.  Small individual pot pies.  Soup bowl size for husband and I; tea cup size for kids.  Reheat some bread from the freezer, add a bag salad I bought last time I was at the store, open a bottle of red.  Dinner = done!  And perfect on a cold night!  Really, short rib pot pie is perfection!

What we are really here to discuss today is Pasta Con Broccoli!  Talk about cleaning out the freezer and pantry, this is a great way to go.  I don’t know about you but I don’t usually have a lot of frozen veggies.  I almost always have frozen peas but that is the only reliable thing I have veggie-wise in the freezer.  Well, when the pandemic struck and I thought we wouldn’t be able to go to the grocery store I bought the Sam’s bag of frozen broccoli.  That’s a lot of broccoli.  And then of course, we could go to the store (or get groceries delivered) so I kept getting fresh stuff.  What am I going to do with all this broccoli?  First up- make some pasta!

I have most pasta con broccoli ingredients on hand, most of the time.  You already know why I have the broccoli.  I have roughly 1 billion pounds of pasta in the pantry at any given time.  Husband uses half and half in his coffee and he has been working from home for almost a year now soooo… we are stocked up on that.  Butter, garlic and parmigiano-reggiano… please, do you even have to ask? ALWAYS!  I did go buy fresh mushrooms.  I like fresh mushrooms in my pasta con broccoli.  If you have canned, this is a GREAT place to use them.  If you want to leave mushrooms out all together, go for it!  I also bought garlic bread because I wanted to.

This recipe comes together relatively quickly, which is always nice.  I bought these noodles on impulse at Aldi one day.  I liked the shape and color.  Normally for this recipe I would use cavatelli (shells) or fettucine but this seemed like a good use for these gigli noodles (although I have always heard this shape called campanelle). Anyway, I boiled the water for the pasta.  While that was happening I started on the sauce by melting the butter in a larger pot.  While the butter was melting I cleaned and sliced mushrooms while my frozen broccoli was steaming in the microwaveable bag. #multi-tasking

I sautéed the mushrooms then added the garlic.  I heated the half & half up in the microwave for a minute then added it and the broccoli to the sauce pot.  I gently stirred the sauce while the noodles boiled in salted water.  The sauce will look very thin, that is ok!  Two minutes before the noodles were “done” I used my spider to move the noodles directly from the pasta pot to the sauce pot.  DO NOT STIR!  I put the parmesan cheese directly on top of the noodles, then I stirred it all together.  Voila! Pasta Con Broccoli!

I think the 1/2 cup of cheese is more than enough but feel free to use as much as you want!  I always have extra parm on the table in case anyone really wants to douse their own serving.  Make sure to serve this pasta while the sauce is still thin; it will really thicken as it sits.  For that reason, you want to make sure to save that pasta water.  It is perfect for thinning out the sauce if necessary.

I love this dish as a main course or as a side.  I know a 1/2 pound of pasta doesn’t seem like a lot but it really does make plenty when all the other ingredients are added.  Let me know how yours turns out!

Pasta Con Broccoli

Serves 4-6
Combo of recipes from my Mom and cousin Rose Mary

Just good, classic pasta con broccoli. You really can’t go wrong.

Ingredients:
½ lb of Pasta (rec Cavatelli or Fettucini)
1 stick of Butter
8 oz Mushrooms, sliced (I like Crimini/Baby Bella)
½ tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 c Half & Half
1 head Broccoli Crowns, cut & steamed
-or- 10 oz package of frozen Broccoli cooked and drained
½ c Parmesan Cheese

In a pot of heavily salted, boiling water, cook pasta two minutes less than “al dente” listed on the package.
Meanwhile, melt butter in separate pot over medium-high heat and sauté mushrooms, sprinkled with salt and pepper, stirring often.
After about 5 minutes when mushrooms are nearly done, add garlic and sauté while stirring for another minute.
Add half & half and broccoli.
Bring to a simmer.
Add pasta to sauce using a spider; do not stir into sauce.
Add parmesan cheese directly on top of the pasta; now stir all together.
When combined, serve immediately.

Bring it to the table a little runnier than your desired consistency as the sauce will continue to thicken. If it gets too thick, add some pasta water to thin it out.

Serve with garlic bread and salad, delicious!

Options:
You can add a little bit of tomato sauce if you want a pink sauce.

 

Pasta Con Broccoli

Just good, classic pasta con broccoli. You really can’t go wrong.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Dinner, Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: #NoBuyJanuary, Broccoli, Easy, Fast, Italian, Lent, Pasta, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 People
Author: Emily ~ Garlic & Olive Oil

Ingredients

  • ½ lb Pasta rec Cavatelli or Fettucini
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter
  • 8 oz Mushrooms sliced (I like Crimini/Baby Bella)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic minced
  • 2 c Half & Half
  • 1 head Broccoli Crowns cut & steamed
  • -or- 10 oz package of frozen Broccoli cooked and drained
  • ½ c Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

  • In a pot of heavily salted, boiling water, cook pasta two minutes less than “al dente” listed on the package.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in separate pot over medium-high heat and sauté mushrooms, sprinkled with salt and pepper, stirring often. After about 5 minutes when mushrooms are nearly done, add garlic and sauté while stirring for another minute. Add half & half and broccoli. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add pasta to sauce using a spider; do not stir into sauce. Add parmesan cheese directly on top of the pasta; now stir all together. When combined, serve immediately.

Notes

Bring it to the table a little runnier than your desired consistency as the sauce will continue to thicken. If it gets too thick, add some pasta water to thin it out.
Serve with garlic bread and salad, delicious!
Options:
You can add a little bit of tomato sauce if you want a pink sauce.

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