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Spaghetti with Broccoli and Tomatoes

 

Contrary to popular belief (and celebrity chef advice), pasta does not need to be cooked in gallons and gallons of extravagantly salted water.  Whole grain pastas contain nutrients - especially water soluble minerals and B-vitamins - which leach into the cooking water and end up down the drain.  Pasta merely needs enough water to prevent sticking.  Depending on the recipe, I either cook the pasta right in the sauce or I cook it in water for just a few minutes and then finish the cooking in the sauce.  This recipe utilizes the latter method.

 

Spaghetti with Broccoli and Tomatoes

 

Extra virgin olive oil

5 - 6 (or more to taste) cloves garlic - sliced

2 bay leaves

1 Tbl. tomato paste

2 beefsteak tomatoes - chopped, 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes - halved, or one 14 oz can diced tomatoes

2 C. chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 Cup or so fresh parsley

2 medium stalks broccoli - tough stems peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced, flowerettes cut into bite-sized pieces.  Keep stalks and flowerettes separate.

A few pinches turmeric - optional

A few pinches red pepper flakes - optional

14 - 16oz. spaghetti

Put water on to boil for the pasta in pasta pot.

Heat deep 12" pan, when hot, add enough olive to generously coat bottom of pan, add sliced garlic and bay leaves.  Let garlic color a bit, then add tomato paste and red pepper flakes.  Stir to coat with the oil, then add the tomatoes, turmeric and broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

The pasta water should be boiling by now.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and the broccoli stems to the tomato mixture.  Cook both the pasta and the stems 2-3 minutes.  Drain the pasta - reserving a few cups of the pasta water - and add the pasta, the flowerettes and the chopped parsley to the tomato mixture.  Cook an additional 5 minutes or until pasta is tender (if pasta seems too dry, add reserved pasta water).  Remove bay leaves.

 Serve with grated cheese and a nice hefty grind of black pepper.