Crisper Drawer Cast-offs: Broccoli and Cavatelli

Fresh broccoli used to lie around in my crisper drawer for a long time. That's because plain, steamed broccoli is so tedious to eat.

A couple of months ago, I bought some cavatelli at Nundini's, even though I had no idea what to do with the weird-shaped pasta. I Googled cavatelli recipes when I got home, and I came across the awesome combination of cavatelli and broccoli seasoned with garlic and red pepper. It's was ridiculously simple to cook.

Cavatelli looks like gnocchi, but it's made from wheat flour rather than potato, and it is sometimes mixed with ricotta. Though I haven't tried it, I am told the soft version found in the freezer cases at some specialty stores is the best. For now, I'm quite content with the dried versions of cavatelli that I find on the shelves of Houston supermarkets.

After experimenting with several recipes, I came up with this adaptation:

Broccoli and Cavatelli

This is a dish that's easy to throw together at the last minute -- serve it with some crusty bread and Italian cold cuts and call it dinner.

2 bunches fresh broccoli 3 cloves garlic, finely minced Quarter cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper Sea salt to taste 1 pound cavatelli pasta Grated Parmesan cheese

Wash the broccoli and steam or microwave the big pieces until just wilted. Cut the wilted broccoli into bite-size pieces. In large pan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil. Add the broccoli pieces, red pepper and salt. Sauté until the broccoli is fork-tender, but still al dente. Mix with one pound of cooked cavatelli. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan.

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