Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

A Restaurant Dish

Posted January 27, 2011

Pasta with Spicy Broccoli and Cauliflower
Adapted from The Zuni Café Cookbook
Serves 6

I’m writing out the recipe with the changes I made.  Even though I did not make them this way, I am including Rogers’ instructions for making the bread crumbs.

About 1 cup fresh, soft bread crumbs (optional)
Olive oil
12 ounces broccoli, trimmed with a few inches of stem intact
12 ounces cauliflower, stem end trimmed flush
1 generous tablespoon capers, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped
1 pound penne or fettucine
6 small garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. fennel seeds
4 to 8 pinches dried chili flakes
¼ cup Kalamata olives, seeded and roughly chopped

If using bread crumbs, preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Toss the bread crumbs with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until golden.  Set aside.

Slice the broccoli and cauliflower about 1/8 inch thick, and generally lengthwise.  Most of the slices will break apart as you cut them, yielding a pile of smooth stem pieces, tiny green  broccoli buds, loose cauliflower crumbs, and a few deliciate slabs with stem and flower both.  Don’t worry if the slices are of uneven thickness.

Set a large skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom and add most of the sliced broccoli and cauliflower, leaving behind the smallest bits on the cutting board (they will burn if you add them too soon).  Cook the vegetables until you see the edges starting to brown, about 3 minutes.  Salt very lightly, add the left behind bits to the pan, and toss and fold gently.  If things are sticking too much to the pan, add a bit of water.  Add the capers and mix gently.  Continue cooking over medium heat for another few minutes, allowing the vegetable to brown gently, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, drop the pasta into 6 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water.  Stir, and cook until al dente.

Once the mass of broccoli and cauliflower has shrunken by about one-third and is largely tender, reduce the heat and add the garlic, fennel, and chili.  Give the vegetables a toss to distribute.  Cook for another few minutes, then add the olives.  Carefully add the pasta to the skillet, using tongs for fettucine or a slotted spoon for penne.  Add the pasta water by ladleful as needed to keep the pasta loose.  Garnish with the toasted bread crumbs if desired.

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