I make some version of this a few times a month, so I thought I'd share. It's fast, uses just two pans (a big pot and a big skillet) and, apart from the broccoli, you should be able to find most of the ingredients in your (marginally-well stocked) pantry. Broccoli can be swapped out for spinach (don't boil, just wilt with red peppers, etc.), kale (boil, or saute in bacon fat and set aside to add at end) or another veg you like, bacon can be swapped for italian sausage (or omitted). We had a version of this tonight without the bacon and mozzarella. Very flexible, very yummy, and completely adaptable to your own small person's taste.
pasta with broccoli, bacon, peppers, white beans and a little cheese
(adapted from Broccoli and Mozzarella Pasta Sauce by Marcella Hazan and Pasta with Broccoli by Mark Bittman)
1 pound (or so) broccoli
2 slices bacon (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound penne, ziti or fusilli or other smallish pasta
1 cup (or 1 can, drained and rinsed) cannelini beans
2 (homemade or jarred) roasted red peppers, chopped
1/4 cup mozzarella, chopped fine (optional)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
A few tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish
1) Wash and cut broccoli. Remove florets and set aside, then slice off the reedy bottom and any other tough stringy parts from the stem.
2) Fry bacon in a large skillet at medium heat until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble when cool enough to touch.
3) Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1-2 teaspoons salt. Add broccoli stem(s) and cook for 3-4 minutes and then add florets. Cook until florets just begin to become tender when pierced by a fork, but not mushy. They'll cook more in the pan later, so you don't want them to cook too much during this step. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
4) Add pasta to the (still boiling) water and cook to a very firm al dente state. It will cook for another few minutes with the broccoli, etc., so don't let it cook too long either. Remove 3/4 of the pasta with a slotted spoon and cook remaining pasta to desired doneness for small persons. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup or so of pasta water.
5) While pasta is cooking, chop broccoli florets and stems into small (almost minced) pieces
6) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and cook until garlic just starts to become golden, a minute or so.
7) Add broccoli to the skillet, mashing it a bit as you stir, then add red peppers and 3/4 cup cannelini beans (reserve 1/4 cup for small person).
8) Add the pasta, give it a stir, cooking until pasta almost reaches desired doneness, then add the most of the mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and bacon, (reserving the rest for small persons) and enough of the reserved pasta water to keep the mixture from drying. Cook until pasta reaches desired doneness and other ingredients are hot. Salt and pepper to taste.
9) In a separate bowl, mix reserved pasta, cannelini beans, bacon, cheese and enough pasta water to make it palatable for small persons.
10) Serve, garnishing with parsley (except for small person who will tolerate no green flecks of any kind on pasta) and more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
As It Always Should Be
1 day ago