A delicious winter dish is pasta with broccoli.
Where I live, near the hills of Custoza a type of broccoli, called “broccoletti di Custoza) occupy few patches left from every present vineyards providing some income to the people who grow them.
In the last few years there has been an organization of producers protecting this amazing vegetable which it’s now being sold all over the territory in bunches of about 5-6. So, when I drive to Custoza I not only enjoy the beautiful hills and surroundings, places where crucial battles were fought against the Austrian and the Neapolitan troops during the “Italian Risorgimento”, 1815-1871, but I also see those patches of a olive green color and bunches of them, usually 5-6 are piled in a boot or in front of farms, are for sale.
Since it’s contains many antioxidant substances is is consider a potent anti-cancer and anti-mutagen.
It has a small flower (that’s why it’s called broccoletto, diminutive of broccolo), usually white, surrounded by many long leaves which are very sweet, thus all the plant can be savored. You may want to first remove the outer leaves and cut them into pieces, place them in boiling water (big pot) with the addition of a little salt. After 5-8 minutes the rest of the plant can be added. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the broccoletto, just prick it with a fork, when it’s tender it’s ready. Drain and use it as a side dish or make pasta with broccoli.
Pasta with Broccoletti di Custoza
Ingredients serving 4: 320-400 grams of pasta (could be pappardelle or rigatoni or pennepasta), 1-2 broccoli of Custoza, 2 anchovies, 3-4 cloves of garlic, some EVO, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, salt and pepper, some chili pepper, some toasted pinenuts
Preparation in 6 easy step:
boil the broccoletto in plenty of boiling water with some salt (this can be done the day before).
remove the vegetable, save the water, drop the pasta when water it’s boiling
meantime in a large frying pan heat up the smashed garlic, anchovies in extra virgin olive oil, until the anchovies are dissolved, add some chili pepper if you like it spicy
toast and chop the pine nuts
coarsely chop the broccoletto and add it to the frying pan. Add some of the cooking water and sauté until the pasta is ready
Drain the pasta in a colander saving some of the water, pour the pasta in the frying pan, stir to savor the pasta with the sauce. Add some of the cooking water if too dry.
Serve sprinkled with the grated cheese and the pine nuts on top. Serve some white cold Custoza wine with the dish.