I never thought I’d be raving a vegetarian dish but the marvel of this meal cannot be explained in one paragraph – it was delicious. It’s simplicity is the key and the harmonious balance of broccoli, mushrooms and anchovies is amazing. Not one element takes centre stage. It’s a very special dish indeed – you must try it immediately!
Orecchiette (little ears in Italian) pasta is the kind shaped like little ears or bowls. It’s perfect for this dish, but you could also use fussili (spirals), farfalle (bows) or penne if you wanted.
4 cups orecchiette pasta
1 large head broccoli (separated into florets)
1 cup mushrooms (sliced)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
Extra virgin olive oil
small knob of butter (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated)
Mash together the chilli flakes, some pepper and the anchovy fillets and set aside. Bring 2 large pans of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to each. Add the pasta to one pan and add the broccoli to the other. Cook the pasta to the packet instructions (about 11 minutes) and the broccoli for 2 minutes. Drain the broccoli and set aside.
As the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large deep frying pan over a medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and garlic for 3 minutes until soft. Add the anchovy paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, parsley and a little salt and toss together with the sauce for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cover. When the pasta is ready, drain briefly (don’t worry about a little cooking liquid – it helps the sauce) then tip into the broccoli. Add a handful of parmesan and the butter (if using) and toss well. Check for seasoning and serve.
Drizzle over extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over the remaining parmesan.