Monday, February 9, 2015

Broccoli Rigatoni

This dish is a lesson in simplicity folks.

There isn't much to this recipe. Olive oil, crushed red pepper, garlic, broccoli, pasta, and parmesan cheese. That's it. That's all you need. Somehow, someway this dish never fails to come together and send me into pasta overdrive.
I've been in love with this dish for 8 1/2 years now, and I keep coming back to it. This is actually the first recipe the hubby ever cooked for me when we had first moved in together.

We'd been living together for 2-3 months, and we were the type of young couple who never cooked. We went out every single night. I know we lived in Portland, but even in Portland if you eat out 7 days a week, you are going to get tired of it. It was late afternoon, and we were squabbling about where to go for dinner. Nothing sounded good, we just couldn't come to an agreement. So the hubby (boyfriend at the time) offered to grill some chicken and make his signature pasta dish. I was feeling bratty so I made a dramatic face and crinkled my nose at him, but I agreed. And then proceeded to sit on the couch and not help at all.

Things have changed :)

The hubby only makes a handful items, but he makes them to perfection. His family goes bonkers over his homemade biscuits and gravy, everyone I've met drools over his Egg's Benedict, and I worship at Broccoli Rigatoni's throne. So when the hubby finished making dinner that magical night so many moons ago, I couldn't believe my tastebuds when I dug in. I was in heaven. 

And the rest, my friends, is history. 

Call me crazy, but my second favorite way to eat this pasta (you know, after being served warm with grilled chicken) is cold from the fridge the next day. I sprinkle a little more shredded parmesan on it, a dash of salt, and away I go. Cold pasta and me are likethis

So, it's Monday. And no word from the car dealership. Grrr. I'd like to know how it's going so I can either pitch my fit that they are going to keep it longer and get that over with, or rejoice that I'll have my freedom back this week. I've been needling the hubby, so I think he'll be calling them later in the day for an update. 

I did keep his car on Saturday while he worked, so I had a little taste of freedom. I took the opportunity to hit up the library. I've been reading a lot while stuck at home. I just finished "The Undertaking" by Audrey Magee. It was an awesome read, but disturbing. Very disturbing, and really sad. It's the story of a German soldier during World War II, and his wife. You don't get a lot of stories from that point of view, which I found interesting. I can say that while I didn't really like any of the main characters, it made for good reading. The book backs you into a corner where you have to admit, deep down, we are all human. We all make mistakes, and not a single person is flawless. If I took anything away from that book, it was a good reinforcement of the lesson that there are 2 sides to every story. For as much damage as the Germans did in World War II, you've also got to realize that the Germans were basically brainwashed. They did what they were told, just like everybody does. They were people too, and they suffered the hardships of war as much as anyone else. Both sides of a war are going to see horrible violence, face freezing or starving to death, have paralyzing fear, risk being caught prisoner or being tortured, etc. Win or lose. These are just the facts of war. Please don't take this to mean that I'm sympathetic to what the Germans did, that's a laughable concept. It's just that we have to keep in mind, as I mentioned before, that they were human too. What if you had been born a German during that time? We are all so quick to judge. 

In any case, it was a quick read (hard to put down) and I highly recommend it. Especially if you enjoy historical fiction, or like reading about World War II. I'm finishing up a lovely Irish romance novel right now, and then it's on to...

"Under The Dome". Stephen King. 1074 pages. I'm excited :)

Happy Monday friends!

Ingredients (serves 4):

8 oz dried rigatoni pasta
1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper


1. Bring a medium-size pot of water to boil. When boiling, add pasta. Place broccoli florets in a steamer with a lid, and place over the boiling pasta water. Steam broccoli for 4 1/2 minutes. Remove broccoli from heat, set aside. Continue to cook pasta for another 5-6 minutes, or until al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta, set aside. 
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. When warm, add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until garlic starts to toast. Add broccoli to the skillet, and stir to coat broccoli with olive oil. Sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add pasta to the pot, and 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss to combine. Add more pasta water if pasta is too thick. Remove from heat.
3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over pasta and allow to melt for 1 minute. Distribute among plates, and serve immediately. 

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