My shopping habits at the farmers' market have changed quite a bit over the last two years. Two years ago, I would eagerly buy anything I hadn't tried before - heirloom tomatoes! fresh shell beans! celery root! - because I was so excited by all the variety. Now, I've tried almost everything at least once, and I know what I like best and what's most convenient for the amount of time I have available for cooking. I know that celery root just isn't my favorite, fresh shell beans are kind of a pain, and that while heirloom tomatoes are fantastic, regular tomatoes are pretty great too and are a lot better for my budget. This year, I've also found myself enjoying broccoli much more than I used to. In 2010, I posted about how broccoli is kind of boring, but I feel differently now. I love the way broccoli soaks up sauce and the texture it has after being stir-fried or roasted.
For dinner tonight, I decided to make a pasta salad of sorts, combining rotini with roasted broccoli and shallots, garlic, olives, and pecorino cheese. It was a tasty and enjoyable meal, definitely far from boring!
Pasta with roasted broccoli, olives, and Pecorino
Makes 4-6 servings
I imagine that anchovies would be a great addition to this, although I didn't try it. If you want to add them, I suggest chopping up a couple fillets and sauteing them with the garlic.
12 oz. rotini (I used whole wheat)
20 oz. broccoli, florets cut into small pieces, stems peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 cup coarsely grated Pecorino cheese
Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Toss broccoli and shallots with a splash of olive oil and spread onto a sheet pan. Roast vegetables in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until broccoli is crisp-tender and browned in spots, and shallots are tender. Remove vegetables from oven and roughly chop shallots.
While vegetables roast, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, then drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
After draining pasta, heat a small splash of olive oil in the pasta pot. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove pot from heat and stir in pasta, broccoli, shallots, olives, red pepper flakes, and Pecorino. Season with salt to taste. Serve warm or at room termperature.