Saturday, December 29, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Rigatoni with Broccoli

The holiday season does bring back lots of memories of the past.
Including memories of family dinners from long ago.

Most dinners immigrant families remember weren't very fancy.
At least not on a regular basis.
Oh, there might be a roast on Sunday.
And a wonderful meal on holidays was always done.
But the only way a family could afford that was by eating simply during the week.


Junior's chapter The Soprano Family Tradition in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook
is filled with basic Italian family recipes.
Easy on the budget, delicious on the tongue.

Rigatoni with Broccoli could be served as a side dish.
Or, if you're watching your budget as well as your waist, a main course.
Vegetarians will love it.


If you want to increase the pasta, no problem.
Some extra oil, garlic and crushed red pepper would be a good idea.
Oh, and the cheese, of course.
This recipe also works with penne or any largish pasta.


This looks more complicated than it is.
It's just that, to not overcook the broccoli, you should cook the pasta 
while frying the broccoli.


                        Rigatoni with Broccoli

Serves 4

Trim and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 pounds broccoli

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Add the prepared broccoli.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Scoop out the broccoli.
SAVE THE COOKING WATER in the pot for the rigatoni.

COOK THE PASTA WHILE YOU ARE FRYING THE BROCCOLI.
Bring the water to a boil.
Add
1/2 pound rigatoni
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Set aside 1 Cup of the cooking water.
Drain the pasta and add it to the broccoli and oil in the dutch oven.


WHILE THE PASTA IS COOKING:
In a dutch oven pour
1/4 Cup olive oil
Add
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
pinch of crushed red pepper
Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
You want the garlic to be lightly golden.
Add 
the precooked broccoli
a pinch salt (optional)
Cook, stirring occasionally over low heat for 10 minutes.

After you've added the pasta
Add
the reserved cup of cooking water
Cook, stirring often over low heat for 5 minutes.
Place in a large serving bowl.

Sprinkle with
1/2 Cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Toss and serve immediately.


Would I make Rigatoni with Broccoli again?
Sure.
It's great as is.
And, with a few slices of leftover meat, it can become a dinner in a dish.


One recipe down.  Sixty-one more to go.  

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