Tag Archives: broccoli

Broccoli & fregula soup

13 Oct

Believe it or not, this otherwise vegetable-based concoction started out with a bag of marrow bones.

Between the produce aisle and the checkout, well, there they were. Apparently, I could not help but to toss the bones into the basket dangling from my hand.

There the bones are, three as you can see, browning along with a diced onion, a couple celery stalks and four or five garlic cloves (in olive oil, of course).

A hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind finds its way into many soups that I make, and I enthusiastically recommend using one here.

As for quantity, we usually make enough soup to last us a few days, and so a gallon of water ought to do the trick. Just add the water and a decent bit of salt, then let things simmer for a good 45 minutes to allow the broth to develop flavor.

Once the broth is nice and tasty remove the marrow bones and set them aside. Then add three chopped broccoli crowns and three diced carrots. This will bring down the temperature a bit so wait until it comes back to a boil.

Once it’s back to a boil add at least a cup of toasted fregula and let it cook for around 10 minutes, at which point the soup is done.

Except that I’m not a guy who is about to allow perfectly good bone marrow to go to waste. Scoop it all out and add the marrow to the pot; you won’t be sorry.

Oh, and don’t forget to grate some cheese on top of the soup before serving.

This step, to my way of thinking, is non-negotiable.

Orecchiette with broccoli & pancetta

15 Jun

I was on my own last night, and had planned on heading out for a burger. But then I got to searching the travel websites for a very-much-hoped-for European trip this fall. Naturally the search brought me to Italy and, well, there went the beef-and-beer plans.

This whole thing took around half an hour. And everything I needed was already in the house. So was plenty of wine, of course, and so I cracked open a bottle and got to work.

In enough well-salted water to cook a pound of pasta, blanch a large head of broccoli, or a couple medium-size heads, then set aside. Do not throw away the water; you’ll be using it to cook the pasta.

At medium heat slowly saute around 1/3-pound of cubed pancetta (or bacon if you prefer) in olive oil until lightly crisp, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Saute 4 or 5 sliced garlic cloves in the same pan, along with some hot pepper if you like.

Once the garlic has softened add the pancetta and the broccoli to the pan and incorporate.

After the orecchiette is cooked add it to the pan using a large slotted spoon. Again, do not throw away the pasta water just yet.

All that’s left to do now is add around three ladles full of the pasta water and incorporate.

Oh, and top with some grated cheese.

But you knew that.

Pasta with broccoli

11 Dec

This is such a go-to dish around my house that I’m having a really hard time believing it hasn’t made an appearance here before. I searched the Pasta Recipe Index, the Vegetarian Recipe Index too (even though there’s anchovy in here). When it didn’t show up in either place I went through the entire four years’ worth of blog posts, absolutely certain that I had missed it when compiling the indices.

Well, I didn’t. Miss it, that is.

Next I’m gonna find out that I never gave you my meatball recipe.


Okay, so in a pot filled with enough well-salted water to cook your pasta (I’m using a half-pound here), boil a couple broccoli crowns until they are soft but still a little firm.

Saute around three garlic cloves, some hot pepper flakes, and a couple anchovy fillets (I used maybe six here, but I like anchovy) until softened but not browned.

When the broccoli is finished cooking remove it from the water using a slotted spoon, add to the saute pan and break up the crowns into small pieces. Turn the heat off, or at most leave it at a very slow simmer. Then cook the pasta in the same water you used for the broccoli. When the pasta is cooked make sure to hang on to around a cup of the water.

Add the cooked pasta to the saute pan, along with enough of the pasta water to moisten things a bit. Turn the heat up to high and incorporate all the ingredients, adding more water as needed.

And that is all there is to it. Some grated cheese on top, of course. But you knew that.

Bean and broccoli soup

21 Jun
A vegetarian I am not. Never have been.
However, recently I caught a mess of crap from a pair of non-meat eaters of my acquaintance. (They called me a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal; can you believe that?) And so, in the interest of harmonious relations with the herbivore crowd, allow me to offer one of the best meat-eschewing soups that I know. 
(If you are wondering what possible use could such a recipe have at this time of year, then consider this: Last week it was cold enough and wet enough up here that, as the soup simmered on the stovetop at the waterfront cabin where I was visiting, I strolled down to a nearby ship’s chandlery and bought myself a new fleece cap.)
I just gotta fly south one of these days.
So, you got your onions, your garlic, celery, pepper, like that, all sauteing in olive oil, then some dry vermouth.
Toss in the broccoli and the beans, along with a good chunk(s) of rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I always have a bunch in the freezer).
Add water or vegetable stock and cook for about an hour.
And there you go.
No muss, no fuss. 
And no dragging of knuckles.
Bean and broccoli soup
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 whole garlic cloves
1 small onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 hot pepper, chopped
1/4 cup dry vermouth
2 cups cannelini beans (fresh or dried)
1 head broccoli
Rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano
8 cups water or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute the garlic, onion, celery and hot pepper in oil until softened, then add vermouth and cook until it evaporates.
Add the broccoli, beans, cheese rind and liquid, then a good dose of salt and some ground pepper.
Cook about an hour and serve.