Recipes: Broccoli and cauliflower

  • Updated: February 19, 2014 - 1:48 PM
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Pasta With Broccoli, Olives and Pistachios.

PASTA WITH BROCCOLI, OLIVES AND PISTACHIOS

Serves 6.

Note: Adapted from “Pasta the Italian Way: Sauces & Shapes,” by Oretta Zanini de Vita and Maureen B. Fant.

• Salt

• 1 1/2 lb. broccoli

• 2 garlic cloves

2 anchovy fillets, drained and blotted dry if oil-packed, rinsed and cleaned if salt-packed

2 tbsp. capers, preferably salt-packed, rinsed and drained

1/2 c. pitted black olives, preferably Gaeta, taggiasche or kalamata (3 oz.)

• 1/3 c. shelled unsalted pistachios (11/2 oz.)

• 6 tbsp. very fruity extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 small piece dried chile, about 1-in. long

• 1 lb. pasta, preferably penne, orecchiette or rigatoni

• 6 rounded tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

Trim the broccoli: Remove the florets and peel and dice the stems, keeping them separate. You should have about 5 cups total.

Chop coarsely together by hand the garlic, anchovy fillets, capers, olives and pistachios.

Heat the oil gently in a skillet large enough to hold the pasta later. Add the chile and discard when it begins to color. Add the garlic mixture to the pan and cook gently in the oil until it just begins to turn gold, about 2 minutes.

When the water is boiling rapidly, add the broccoli stems and cook for 2 minutes. Add the florets and continue cooking until they are bright green and tender, but still slightly crisp and not mushy, 4 to 5 minutes.

Lift the cooked broccoli out of the pot with a slotted spoon or strainer right into the skillet, leaving the water boiling in the pot. Stir the broccoli and garlic mixture together, breaking up any large florets with the spoon; the broccoli pieces should be small enough to coat the pasta. Taste the broccoli mixture and add more salt if necessary (with anchovies, olives and capers, you probably won’t need any), and let the flavors blend for a couple minutes over low heat.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente, generally 8 to 10 minutes.

When the pasta is done, lift it out of the water and transfer it, rather wet, to the skillet. Mix well over low heat for about 30 seconds, sprinkle with the cheese and mix again. Transfer to a warm serving dish or serve directly from the skillet. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 545 Fat 24 g Sodium 523 mg

Carbohydrates 66 g Saturated fat 4 g

Protein 18 g Cholesterol 9 mg Dietary fiber 7 g

CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH ROMESCO SAUCE

Serves 4

Note: Ancho chiles are dried. The sauce is loosely adapted from “Honey From a Weed,” by Patience Gray.

Romesco sauce:

• 1 oz. hazelnuts (26 to 28 nuts)

• 1 oz. slivered almonds (1/4 c.)

1 large tomato, cut in half, seeds removed

1 ancho chile, stem and seeds removed (see Note)

• 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 oz. sandwich bread (about 1 slice)

• 2 garlic cloves

• 1/2 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika

• Salt

• 3/4 to 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

Cauliflower steaks:

• 1 (2-lb.) head cauliflower

• 3 tbsp. oil

• 1 whole garlic clove, peeled

Directions

To prepare the romesco sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil. Bake the hazelnuts until they are fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove to a kitchen towel and rub them in the towel to remove as much of the papery peel as you can.

Add the almonds and the tomato to the pan and return it to the oven. Remove the almonds when they are fragrant, about 5 minutes, and continue roasting the tomato, turning after another 5 minutes, until it is beginning to char and soften, 20 to 25 minutes in all. Leave the oven on if cooking the cauliflower steaks immediately.

In the meantime, cover the chile with boiling water and set aside to soften. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the bread and fry until lightly golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and transfer the bread, leaving the oil in the pan, to a food processor. Discard the oil.

Add the garlic, hazelnuts, almonds, tomato, chile, paprika and ¾ teaspoon salt to the food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add ¾ teaspoon red wine vinegar and with the processor running, pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a stream to make a thick, chunky cream. Thin the sauce, if desired, with water, pulsing in a little at a time. Season to taste with more salt and vinegar if necessary.

Romesco is served at room temperature. This recipe makes about 1 cup sauce, more than the dish requires. Store the remainder tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To prepare cauliflower steaks: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil. If you have just made the romesco sauce, you can use the same pan.

Trim away the leaves of the cauliflower and enough of the base to allow it to sit flat on the cutting board. Leave as much of the core as you can, as this is what will hold the cauliflower together during cooking.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the cauliflower into ½ -inch vertical slabs, working from the center out for the largest steaks. You should have four steaks; save any remaining cauliflower for another use.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add the whole, peeled garlic clove. Cook the garlic until it is light brown and blistered, then discard the clove.

Cook the cauliflower steaks in the oil two at a time, frying on each side until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. When the underside begins to brown, sprinkle the top with salt and flip the steaks over. Be very careful turning as the cauliflower is delicate and will want to break apart; using 2 spatulas is a good idea. When the second side is browned, sprinkle with a little more salt and transfer them to the jellyroll pan.

When all the steaks are browned, roast in the oven until they are quite tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Spoon a couple tablespoons of romesco on the serving plate where the stem of the cauliflower will be. Place the cauliflower, browned side up, on the plate over the sauce and serve immediately, passing the remaining sauce at the table.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 248 Fat 20 g Sodium 298 mg

Carbohydrates 15 g Saturated fat 3 g Protein 6 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

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