Rotini with Broccoli and Chillies

Bowl of rotini pasta with broccoli, chillies, and parmesan.

I couldn’t tell you why exactly, but I always seem to have a head of broccoli lying around in my fridge. Strong ties to my mom, I suppose, as she always has a head of cabbage in hers. What else do I always have? Dried chillies, garlic, dried pasta, and a big hunk of grating cheese in my crisper. Happily, these are the foundations for making one of my favourite one-pot meals; the only other ingredient needed is vegetable stock (or chicken) and it need only be bouillon cubes or concentrate. I use rotini because it’s got some chewy heft, but really any kind of pasta will work well (including whole wheat or other grain alternative). You can play with the ratio of pasta to broccoli, I personally like having more broccoli than pasta or at least a fairly close approximation. The broccoli is cooked right in with the pasta and then the garlic is quickly sautéed in olive oil while the pasta and broccoli drains in a colander. Make sure that you reserve about a cup of the pasta stock to ensure your finished meal isn’t too dry, this is good practice in general but this recipe definitely suffers without it. If you want to add protein I would highly suggest a can of good quality oil packed tuna, just break it up into larger pieces when combining everything before eating.

rotini with broccoli and chillies:

1 cup of uncooked rotini

2 cups of broccoli, cut into small florets

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 generous Tbsp. olive oil

Lots of freshly cracked pepper

Kosher salt

Vegetable stock

Dried red chillies

Parmigiano-Reggiano OR Grana Padano OR Pecorino Pepato

  1. Fill a large pot with stock and cook the rotini according to package directions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking time add the broccoli. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid and drain the pasta and broccoli.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and in the same pot sauté the minced garlic until it’s just beginning to brown and smell super fragrant.
  3. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli, reserved cooking stock, black pepper and kosher salt to taste. Toss to combine and then serve with a generous sprinkling of dried red chillies, extra black pepper, and a heaping amount of Reggiano.

Nothing says me time like a little Tori Amos, soundtrack to the antics of teenager Ashley, twenties Ashley, and now thirties Ashley. Mostly her earlier albums, but what can I say? These are the ones that are perfect to me.

Tori Amos – Winter


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