The more and more I cook recipes from cookbooks the more and more I find there are some pretty terrible cookbooks out there. Cookbooks where it seems nobody actually proofread or tried out the recipes. Perhaps some of my funnier/more popular posts are those that have recipes that don’t work out. Well sorry to disappoint the readers who like those posts because my next recipe comes from a cookbook I have only had success with. A cookbook I would recommend to anyone/everyone. I would go as far to say if I could only have one cookbook this would be the one I would want. The book isn’t editorial, it doesn’t have photos, but the wealth of knowledge it possesses makes up for all that.
Is everyone on the edge of their seat to find out what cookbook I am talking about??
The recipe I had tagged was for Pasta with Cauliflower or Broccoli. Since I despise cauliflower I decided to go with broccoli.
To start with I got a pot of boiling water going on the stove. I put broccoli florets into the boiling water.
As the broccoli cooked I put olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium low heat. I stirred occasionally.
The broccoli cooked until it was tender and the garlic cooked until it started to turn golden. As luck would have it (or maybe because Bittman is actually really good at timing his recipes) both of these things occurred at the same time. I removed the broccoli from the water with a slotted spoon and placed it into the skillet with the garlic. I increased the heat of the skillet to medium.
The water left in the pot from the broccoli was then used to cook pasta. The pasta cooked until al dente. While the pasta cooked I broke up bigger pieces of broccoli.
And then began to smash the broccoli into a paste. As the broccoli got a bit dry I added some of the water from the pasta.
When the pasta was done cooking I reserved 1/2 cup of the pasta water, drained the pasta, then added it to the skillet with the broccoli. I stirred in the reserved water and cooked for a minute to allow the sauce to thicken slightly. I seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkled with parsley.
The chef/author Mark Bittman added a few variations to make the pasta your own. One was to add anchovies and red pepper. Another was to use more garlic and broccoli raab. The last was to chop up some sausage into the pasta. I decided to use up some salmon I had in the refrigerator by sautéing it with a little lemon juice and zest. It paired really well with pasta I thought!
The Verdict: Mark Bittman is AWESOME. His recipes are easy to follow and I really enjoy how he makes recommendations to modify his recipes to your personal tastes. I did some freestyling in this recipe and typed up my modified version of Bittman’s recipe here. And truly consider picking up a copy of this cookbook, you won’t be disappointed!