Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Time for Something Special: Broccoli Spigarello and Sausages

Michelle's been out of town for three weeks. Given the rainy weather, curling up in front of the fire is a great way to celebrate her homecoming. I wanted to cook her a special dinner. Not that my plan was to spend hours making sauces or a complex recipe. Going to the Santa Monica Farmers' Market, I looked for ingredients that weren't the same old-same-old vegetables. Luckily I saw broccoli spigarello, making a very infrequent appearance in the market.

Described as a wild form of broccoli, broccoli spigarello is similar to kale, all leaves, without any florets. The stems are woody and should be cut off and disgarded.

1 bunch broccoli spigarello, washed, stems trimmed off, leaves roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
4 shallots, peeled, roughly chopped
2 Italian sausages, washed, grilled
1 carrot, peeled, cut into thick rounds
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup pasta water
2 tablespoons butter
¼ box pasta, penne or ziti
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the pasta, stir frequently, and cook until al dente. Strain, saving 1 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil, stir and cover to keep warm.

Sauté the shallots, garlic, and broccoli spigarello with olive oil in a hot pan. Stir frequently until lightly browned, season with sea salt and black pepper, then add the chicken stock and pasta water. Add the tablespoon of butter. Reduce the flame. Cover loosely with a piece of tin foil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrot rounds. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Grill the sausages until browned on all sides. Remove and cut into thick rounds. Add the sausage rounds and the cooked pasta to the sauté pan. Stir well and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 2. Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 30 minutes.

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