Last night I called my husband on his way home from work and practically begged him to take me out to dinner. He was happy to oblige, but honestly, I couldn't let myself do it. It's a funny thing, but once you start preparing all of your meals from scratch, it's kind of addictive! The really weird thing is I usually feel crappy after eating out, too. So I decided to just look in pantry and the fridge and see what I could put together. Creating a recipe on the fly is like figuring out a puzzle. What flavors will go well together? What textures am I in the mood for? And of course, what will be incredibly easy and not leave me too tired to enjoy it?
So, I grabbed this from the fridge:
- Two heads of broccoli
- a fresh lemon
- three garlic cloves
- a chunk of Parmesan cheese
And this from the pantry:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- pine nuts
- Kosher salt & ground pepper
- Whole wheat fusilli pasta
After the water started to boil, I just put the whole box of fusilli in. I like it el dente (slightly hard), so it takes about 10 minutes after a full boil. Then, I cut the broccoli into florets and found a dish for them to steam in (4 min. in the microwave, covered). I planned on stir frying them, but it helps to soften them first. I heated the olive oil (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) in a skillet and let the garlic cook for about 3 minutes until toasty brown. Then, in a smaller skillet (dry) I put about 1/4 cup of pine nuts and lightly toasted them (about 5 min.) Meanwhile, I added the steamed broccoli to the garlic and kept tossing everything until the florets became softer and slightly brown (approx. 10 min.) A little Kosher salt and pepper to taste.
When everything is cooked, I drained the pasta and took out a great big glass bowl and combined all the cooked ingredients. Then I mixed in about 1/2 cup of really great extra virgin olive oil (Goya has an excellent bottle.) Then, I liberally grated fresh parmesan cheese over everything and mixed that in, as well.
Finally, I squeezed half the juice from the lemon all over it. If my lemon was a little fresher, I would have zested the peel and added it, too.
Oh boy, this was good. I served it warm last night, but this would also be a great cold salad. If you can believe, this was even tastier for lunch today. I think the longer it sits in the fridge, the deeper the flavors get! However, this will not sit in the fridge very long. I hope you enjoy it and definitely let me know what you think.
I just thought of something else. If you wanted to add a little protein, I bet grilled chicken, firm tofu or cannelini beans would be delicious.