I’m so excited to post this recipe – the first ‘sneak preview’ recipe from my new book (Getting to Yum), which will be out on May 6th! My ‘test families’ have been working hard: tasting, testing, suggesting improvements. They LOVED this recipe, and I hope you do too. I’d love your comments–from you and especially your kids!
The recipes are designed to be simple, fast and easy to make–but to have a ‘twist’, introducing your family to new tastes, as a means of expanding their palates. This recipe combines the perennial favorite–pasta–with something unusual: anchovies.
Now, don’t be alarmed. Some of my test families were a bit hesitant, but they all loved this recipe! Trust me, this is a flavor combination worth trying! The anchovies add a salty flavor that really livens up the broccoli, balanced by the fresh taste of lemon. Plus anchovies, like other small cold-water fish, are incredibly nutritious.
I often serve this at informal dinner parties (hence the name); it’s delicious enough for adults, but easy enough for kids (particularly those who are still learning to like their greens – they can focus on the pasta while nibbling the occasional bit of greenery or fish).
Anchovies are considered relatively safe to eat by the US government, because they are lower down the food chain, so don’t concentrate toxins to the same extent as other fish (like mercury—which is found in other types of fish that children and pregnant women should avoid).
Equipment: 1 medium cooking pot, 1 large cooking pot
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 adults and 2 children
2 cups broccoli florets (about ½ of a head of broccoli), cut into bite-size pieces
About 5 anchovies (double if you really like anchovies) – Note: Anchovies are preserved in brine, and then canned with oil (my preference) or salt (too salty for my taste). If you do use those packed in salt, rinse them well first.
3 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tbsp)
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan (fresh is best! But I often used the pre-grated kind)
Pasta for 4 (I like penne or farfalle best with this recipe) – about 8 ounces
Optional: garlic, 1 tsp pepperoncini (spicy red pepper flakes – for the more adventurous eaters in the family!)
Timesaving tip: Set two pots of water on the stove to boil. While these are heating up, chop the broccoli into small florets. By this time, the water should be boiling: add the broccoli to one and the pasta to the other, and reduce heat to simmer. Set your timer or check your watch for the pasta!
Heat oil in a frying pan (optional: at this stage, add garlic and fry until lightly golden, then remove garlic and set aside). Add anchovies, and a ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water. Cook on high heat for 3 minutes, until anchovies are so soft that they melt. Reduce to very low heat and cook until liquid has reduced into a sauce (about 3 more minutes).
Drain pasta when ready, then toss pasta with anchovy sauce. Drain broccoli, and add lemon juice, toss lightly, then add to the pasta. Serve topped with parmesan and breadcrumbs (adding optional pepperoncini if desired).
Bon Appétit! And please DO let me know what you think. Your comments might even make it into the cookbook! ;)
Note: if making this in advance, do not toss the lemon juice with the broccoli (because anything acidic will make the broccoli turn brown). Keep the broccoli and lemon juice separate; toss together and then add to pasta just before serving.