Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Enter the vegetables

Er, enter the vegetable.  Singular.  Broccoli.

I do eat a lot of meat, but I do not exclusively cook with meat.  I will often pick up something green at a farmers market or at the grocery.  Sometimes I even make a trip to the store specifically for something green, as I did for this pasta dish.

Over Labor Day weekend, I took a trip down to Anaheim with my mom and little sister to run the Disneyland Half Marathon (and go to Disneyland).  At some point, my sister mentioned a broccoli pasta dish my mom had cooked recently.  She described the broccoli sauce as "gold".  I had my mom email me the recipe the day I got back to Portland and made the dish that night.

I mentioned in my first post that my biggest cooking influence is my mom.  She cooked dinner for me, my two sisters, and my dad almost every day I lived at home.  Sometimes she would even cook multiple different dinners to appease the varying tastes of the four of us.  She continues to cook nightly for my dad, a man who basically refuses to go out to eat because he says my mom cooks better food than any to be had at a restaurant.  Needless to say, she is an amazing cook.  And she has compiled an extensive collection of recipes, and I can always go to her if I need to know how to make a dish or to get a recommendation.  

Fusilli with Broccoli Sauce

4 Tbsp butter
1/4 c. minced shallots (or garlic)
about 1 1/2 lb broccoli
1/2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. cream
salt & pepper
1 lb Fusilli
1/4 c. grated parmesan

1. Saute garlic (I NEVER cook with shallots; I can't stand them) in 2 Tbsp butter.

2. Separate broccoli florets from stems.  Discard tough ends of stems.  Peel stems down to tender part.  Keep florets in large pieces.  Add florets and stems to large pot of boiling, salted water.  Florets will cook in about 2 - 3 minutes, stems will take 3 - 4 minutes longer.  Drain broccoli, reserving cooking water.

3. Transfer broccoli to food processor with garlic and any butter remaining in saute pan and process well.  Add chicken stock and process again until as smooth as possible (it does not need to be completely smooth).  Transfer mixture to a 10" skillet and stir in cream.  Season highly with salt and pepper.  Just before you need it, reheat sauce gently over low heat.  Do not cook too long or the sauce will start to lose its pretty green color.

4. Boil pasta in reserved cooing water.  Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking water.

5. Transfer pasta to a large, warm bowl.  Add remaining 2 Tbsp butter and toss to melt butter.  Add sauce (you may not need to use all of it) and toss, adding a little of the cooking water if needed to thin sauce.  Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Bon appetit.


  1. Finally something I can try to recreate, after substituting veggie stock for the chicken stock, of course! This sounds amazing. Tell your mom this is what I want for my first Sunday dinner at the Johnstons! :)


  2. If you can believe it, I actually did use veggie stock when I made this; I used Better than Bouillion veggie base. So you could have eaten it with me :) I'll let my mom know, though, my mom has WAY better vegetarian meals in her repertoire.

  3. This recipe is complete gold! And, yes, MJ is the best cook around :) xoxo