Thursday, 6 January 2011

Frugal feasts - Broccoli pasta

Good for: everyone. Kids love it and adults devour it. Give it a bit of snip with some kitchen scissors and most babies will eat it too.
The chances are you're a bit skint. I'm certainly a bit skint. So as well as it being dark and cold outside, we're poor. Will this awfulness never end?
Fortunately good food isn't expensive, and just to prove that point we at crumbs have knocked up some of our favourite dishes which just happen to be incredibly cheap.
This broccoli pasta has been part of my repertoire for years, I learnt how to make it in an Italian cookery course and was amazed at how delicious something so easy (and cheap) could be. It's hearty, warming and I make it at least once a week. The kids love it, although I don't put the chilli flakes in theirs.
And ignore any detox propaganda, now is the time to eat, and to eat heartily. And healthily. No-one kept colds and flu away by tucking into a lettuce leaf.
Broccoli Pasta
Start to finish:
10 minutes
Serves: 2 (hungry) adults or 1 adult and two children
200g pasta - they (the Italians) say it should be orrecchiette, I say whatever you have in the cupboard
250g broccoli florets
2 sliced garlic cloves
a pinch of sea salt - I know, I know, but just think of all the vitamins in the broccoli
Dried chilli flakes to taste - optional
Olive oil
Pepper to taste
A dollop of cream, creme fraiche, or Greek yoghurt, would be nice, but not essential
Ideally Pecorino or parmesan to taste, but I often end up using cheddar
Put the pasta on to cook in a large pan of water. After about 3 minutes of it bubbling, add the florets of broccoli and let them cook with the pasta for the remaining 7 minutes. I'm sure this is sacrilege if you are Italian or a chef, but it saves time and washing up, which are big priorities for me. When the pasta is cooked the broccoli should also be cooked, probably more than the al dente that you're used to though, but that's good.
Strain everything in a colander and leave while you heat the olive oil (in the saucepan which had the pasta in), then cook the garlic (and optional chilli) for a minute, don't allow it to go brown. Turn off the heat and add the pasta and broccoli and pinch of salt. Put the lid on the pan and bang it as much as you can. The idea is that the slightly soft broccoli breaks up and coats the pasta. If the banging doesn't do the trick, give it a good stir to break it up with a wooden spoon. Then, if I have some creme fraiche or cream I stir in a dollop, loads of black pepper and serve. Sprinkle with cheese.


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