I had mentioned in recent posts on how I am in a particularly stressful period right now at work. Crazy busy. Just one lunch and dinner after another. Today, at one point, I think I was making five different recipes simultaneously while I was also directing my staff. I’m not mentioning this to be a braggart–on the contrary–but just to illustrate the difference between cooking at work to cooking at home. At work I have to cook things simultaneously and in large batches…sauces by the gallon, soups in 20-30 gallon batches, entrees by the hundreds. And all the while barking out orders to the cooks. It’s a wonder I make it through the day sometimes. Really. Okay…sorry for being so whiny. My point is what a juxtaposition it is then to come home and cook dinner for myself. My son was not home this evening so it was just myself and my pugs. So after I fed the dogs I poured myself a glass of wine, put a pot of water on the stove to boil (for pasta), tuned into NPR on the radio, sat on a stool and waited for the water to boil while I sipped my wine. Quite a difference from the frantic cooking I did earlier in the day; without looking I knew the water was ready because I could hear it boiling. After I boiled and drained the pasta I made the following recipe. It’s one of my favorites and I have posted many variations of it on this blog. The recipe below uses spaghetti but tonight I made it with penne. Use whichever type of pasta you like and whichever vegetable you like. (For many other variations with better photos, click here.) And as I ate and listened to the radio I thought about how much I still love to cook–at home and at work (but not when it’s so busy)–and how good food tastes when you make it yourself. When I was almost done eating but had a little left on my plate, I fed it to my dogs (who had been sitting patiently and staring at me the entire while I cooked and ate), then I poured myself another glass of wine and turned up the radio a bit while I washed the dishes.
Yield: 4 servings
3/4 pounds spaghetti
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Cook the spaghetti and drain it. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with the garlic and hot pepper flakes. When the garlic just starts to change color add the chicken broth and salt. Cook the broth for one minute, until it reduces by half, and then add the broccoli. Toss the broccoli for a few minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti, and stir it until thoroughly coated with the other ingredients. Stir in the cheese just before serving.