Chunky Crunchy Broccoli and Casarecce Pasta Salad

Spring is in the air. Today we went to check our kitchen garden and realized the broccolis were ready to be harvested. The bad news is some of the buds were blooming. They flowered prematurely and the edible buds were, let’s say, kind of poor and not enough for soup or a broccoli gratin.

I’m used to the American broccoli, with a large central head. These were more like the Italian broccoli, with loose florets. Stubborn as I am, I tried to get something positive of my disappointment. I already had Italy in my mind, so I decided to improvise a pasta salad.
Sometimes, improvised things go better than those we plan. The loose florets were perfect for a casarecce chunky pasta salad, seasoned with olive oil and garlic, and tossed with some red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.
The result is today’s recipe, a lovely, colorful, crunchy salad that can be a meal by itself. I hope you like it!
Broccoli and Casarecce Pasta Salad | Ingredients for 6 portions
1 package of casarecce pasta
3 cups of broccoli florets
3 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
Coarse sea salt
Red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese shredded (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
Put the water for the pasta to boil. Add the olive oil to a pan on low to medium heat and sauté the garlic for about 5-6 minutes. Set aside. In the meantime, cook the pasta. In a sauce pan, cover the broccoli florets with water and cook them over medium to high heat until they boil, leave them boil for 1 minute, strain it and put them in a bowl with iced water to stop the cooking process. Cook the pasta al dente and once it’s strained, let some fresh water run on top to stop cooking. Strain again and put the pasta in the pan with the olive oil and garlic. Strain the broccoli and add it to the pan with the pasta. Season with salt to taste. Mix and serve with some cheese and red flake peppers.

To print the recipe click here.

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