I probably should have called this Green & Gold Pasta and pretended that it was entirely planned in advance for Australia Day. But you and I both know you’d see straight through that one — and besides when I plan posts for Australia day they always involve lamingtons — ha!
So why, if not for Australia Day, did I make unintentional green and gold pasta you ask? Well for Secret Recipe Club of course.
This month I received the blog Couscous & Consciousness as my assignment and not only is Sue a fellow Southern Hemisphere dweller (hailing from New Zealand), but she cooks the kind of food I adore — simple, real food that’s mainly vegetarian and inspired by the seasons.
Sue’s recipes aren’t about everything-free food (as proven by this mouthwatering Roasted Apricot Gelato!) but focus on mindful and responsible food choices, an oft-forgotten concept in these days of fad diets and crazy trends.
Now anyone who follows my SRC posts will be reasonably shocked that I’ve selected something for this month that isn’t breakfast/bread/cake related but while scanning the recipe index this pasta jumped out at me and there was no resisting it.
Now I should call this secret ingredient pasta in honour of the SRC, because there’s an ingredient that you may not expect but which simply makes the dish.
And that secret ingredient? Wait for it …
I personally love the rich umami notes anchovies add to pretty much anything so I’d strongly encourage you to at least give it a go. When they melt into the sauce you won’t even know they’re there, but they add something that is not replicable with any other ingredient.
Anchovy sales pitch done I’m headed off to relax for the remainder of the Australia Day public holiday, ignore all the lamingtons inundating my Instagram feed, and eat the leftovers of this pasta straight from the fridge.
Secret Ingredient Broccoli & Parmesan Pasta
A quick and savoury pasta dish that’s as good hot from the pan as it is cold from the fridge the next day ||
adapted from Couscous & Consciousness.
Serves 3, or 2 with leftovers for lunch the next day
- 1 head (400 g) broccoli
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 8 anchovies
- 1 small red chilli, finely diced, or ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- ½ c grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
- 180 g pasta
- sea salt and cracked pepper
- handful toasted walnuts, optional
Cut broccoli into florets, peel any skin off the stalk and slice thinly. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and plunge broccoli into water for a minute or two until bright green. Remove from pot and set aside (a mesh strainer makes an efficient scoop).
Add pasta and a good pinch of salt to the pot of boiling water and cook according to packet directions.
While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large skillet with the anchovies, stirring/mashing until anchovies turn into a paste. Add chilli and blanched broccoli and toss to combine well. Cook 2 mins.
Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup cooking water. Add pasta and parmesan to the pan with the broccoli and toss to warm through. Add enough of the reserved water to create a bit of a sauce — I used about ¼ cup.
Season to taste with salt and pepper then serve with extra parmesan and walnuts (and anchovies if you are so inclined).
- Anchovies: no it doesn’t taste ‘fishy’, just savoury, start with less if you are unsure of the whole thing. There is not a substitution but you could just add salt instead.
- Parmesan: yes you could sub the parmesan with nutritional yeast (maybe ¼ c) plus an extra Tbsp of oil and some salt to make this dairy free.
- Pasta: I used spelt spirals and the original recipe called for orecchiette but you can throw in anything you have in the cupboard — just remember to use something with texture to catch the sauce!
gluten-free with gf pasta // dairy-free with nutritional yeast // soy-free // nut-free option