This is a typical recipe made in many regions of Southern Italy; Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata and Sicily. The regions have been for a long period in Italy’s history, the poorest part of the country; in the past, much of the population subsisted on an almost exclusively vegetarian diet, eating greens and bread or pasta.
Pasta with Broccoli and Sultanas
Pasta con broccoli e uva sultanina
Adapted from recipes by The Good Housekeeping Institute in their book: “Good Housekeeping Step-By-Step Vegetarian Cookbook”– published on 4 Sep 1997, and from the blog by Jacqueline Debono at https://www.the-pasta-project.com/
“Broccoli pasta is very traditional in Southern Italy. You can find different versions of it in most of the South Italian regions particularly Sicily, Puglia, Calabria and Campania. It is most often made without meat.” Jacqueline Debono
Ingredients: Serves 4
- 50 g sultanas
- 200 g broccoli spears
- 300-350 g dried pasta penne, rigatoni, fusilloni or spaghetti
- Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
- 100 ml good olive oil for cooking
- 75 g white breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely crushed with tines of a fork
- 25 g pine nuts
- 40 g hard vegetarian pecorino cheese, finely grated
- A handful of finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- Put the sultanas in a bowl; pour on a little boiling water to cover and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, trim the tough, fibrous ends off the broccoli and then slice the stems into short, ½ inch (1 cm) lengths. Break the broccoli into small florets. Transfer the broccoli to a steamer, sprinkle with salt and cover and steam for 7 minutes. Then remove the pan from the steamer and hold under running tap water for 2 seconds and set aside, covered.
- In the meantime, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan on a low heat; add the garlic and fry, stirring to coat with oil for 1-2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs to the garlic and stir to mix. Cook, stirring constantly, until the crumbs are golden brown and crunchy, about 5 minutes, until they begin to crisp. Add the pine nuts and continue to fry, stirring, until the pine nuts begin to colour. Add the broccoli and sultanas, a pinch of salt and gently stir over the heat until it is thoroughly heated, and everything is mixed through. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside.
- Cook the pasta in the large stock pot of boiling salted water until al dente or follow packet instructions.
- Drain the pasta in a colander, return it to the hot, dry pan you cooked it in and add the broccoli mixture. Gently stir to mix thoroughly.
- Tips and serving suggestions: Serve into warmed bowls, add the grated cheese over the bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with flat leaf parsley.
Produced by John Fletcher at http://www.johnstastesofitaly.com