Thursday, September 27, 2007

Angel Hair Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic Sauce - And, why most vegetable pastas aren’t very good

Today's recipe video is a very simple broccoli "alia olia," but it's also a good example of the proper way to use vegetables in pasta. I almost never order veggie pasta in a restaurant. The main reason is that the vegetables are almost never cooked properly, or I should say prepped properly. Take this broccoli pasta as an example. In a restaurant the same ingredients would be used, but all broccoli pieces would be added at the same time. So, by the time the stems were tender the tops would be mush, or even worse, the tops would be perfect and the stems hard and crunchy.
You have to have a game plan when doing a vegetable pasta. If you are using vegetables that have different cooking times, you can't add them all at the same time, yet that's what most people do. One strategy is to cut the longer cooking veggies smaller and leave the more tender veggies larger, so they all cook at about the same time. Another trick is to precook the denser vegetables, like carrots, before combining them with less dense things like squash.
In this pasta, I separate the tops and stems of the broccoli. I basically make a sauce with the diced (and much tougher) stem pieces, and the tender flowers at the end so I get a nice uniform doneness. Anyway, all that being said, this is a delicious way to eat that broccoli all those doctors' keeps talking about. By the way, if you're a Chef that remembers the "garnish the edge of the plate" era (explained in clip), I'd love to get a comment from you. What we're we thinking? Enjoy!
(I'm going to try embeding two video players, from both YouTube and Brightcove, in case one of the sources is down, or one works better on your browser than the other. The Youtube embed is a smaller player, but not as temperamental as the larger Brightcove version.)

Ingredients:
1 pound angel hair pasta
1 1/2 pound broccoli
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love simple veg pastas like this. thanks!

3cinr3b said...

this dish looks simple enough and the ingredients are easily available, i should try it one day =D thanks for sharing it!

one question though, why is it bad to overcook garlic?

Sarah C. said...

Thanks for entertaining me once again. I really appreciate your sense of humor!

Chef John said...

if you brown the garlic too far it gets bitter and will the only thing you taste.

FeelingFlirty said...

My god.. your blog is terrific. Can I live here??

Thanks for such a great resource.

Verity said...

hi chef john!
just wondering, how many people would a recipe like this serve?
i mean, i'd just need to make it for my mum and i, so thats 2 people, and a pound of pasta is a lot for just two of us!!
thanks

Chef John said...

This will serve 4 generous portions. You could do half of everything...but don't you want leftovers???

Anonymous said...

thank you for posting a youtube back up!

havent been able to see the big "hatin'-playah" videos

klugyboy said...

I have to try this...I do broccoli with farfalle but I cut up the broccoli similarly to how you did it in your cauliflower orecchiette episode (at least I remember it to be orecchiette).

Chef John said...

No problem, not sure why. Seems to be Ok with most viewers. Maybe upgrade your flash version or browser? Not sure, I just cook mostly, but I think I'll post both from now on.

Chef Tom said...

This one sounds pretty darn good and full of flavor. I would make it tonight but I'm all garlic'd out from my lunch! hehe

I know what is for dinner tomorrow though!

Verity said...

i wouldn't say no to leftovers, but bearing in mind im at school all day, it'd be hard to find a suitable time to eat it...for some reason i have this thing against re-heated pasta... i know the flavours have developed more, but for some reason i just don't like the idea!!

Nicole from: For the Love of Food said...

Looks really delicious! I can't wait to try it!

Gunnar said...

Just finished eating this for lunch! It came out very well, although since I usually don't care much for exact quantities I ended up with about half the amount of broth, pasta and broccoli, but I still had 6 cloves of garlic :)

Thanks for a great blog and recipes, it has really put the fun back into cooking!

Jacob said...

The restaurant I currently work at serves a sandwich with a deconstructed remoulade garnish, plated on a charger with, of course, the garnish all over the edge of the plate. Oy vey!

Anonymous said...

Hey chef John!!! I'm an art student (starving artist) All the reciepes are awesome! But I'm having a few problems finding things like pork tenderloin (which I agree is AMAZING) and chicken stock. Brodo Pollo as that call it, but I can't find it. But keep up the nice kitchen creations, and the rest of us will keep eaten good. ha ha
Ciao! Harry
P.S. What are your thoughts on Alton Brown (good eats) I was just wondering. lol

Chef John said...

Thanks. I love Alton Brown.

Anonymous said...

My friends offten call me chef. When I was married to a purchaser for SERykof, I sometimes cooked for pro chefs in my home. I remember the era you speak of, but as a diner. Pretty and impractical, though I sometimes still use it with desserts. You know, .... big finish.

J. T.

Chef John said...

sorry annon, I missed your comment about the other Brodo with veggies. I'll have to look for it!

matt said...

I'm making this for a potluck on Sunday. Most of the people attending are vegetarians so this will be perfect. Great video.

Ping said...

Heyy chef John,

I'm dying of curiousity.
What's the story behind the joke?

Chef John said...

which one?

Ping said...

the "garnish the edge of the plate" era

oh-- and thumbs in food?

:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

I love your web and your video and your sense of humor. Every dish I made turned out to be so good that my daughter said "Is this from Chef John, mom? Thank you so much.
Beside making my cooking easier, you always make me laught. Thanks a lot.
Tik

Kevin said...

Just made this, I think I over cooked the pasta very slighlty which made it a bit "squigy"

Still, it was very good :)

A tip to anyone who is going to make this is to make sure to use the amount of brocoli+pasta otherwise youre left with more of one of them, which is what I done.. :P

Anonymous said...

I just made this and it was very yummy. I used powdered chicken broth and water instead of broth. It made it less healthy, but would a chef like you feel the substitution to be totally horrible?

Chef John said...

horrible? not at all! you cooked a delicious meal. life is a compromise.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind and prompt responses. Your outstanding blog and videos provide me and many others a wonderful service and I'm very grateful for them. =)

loriziems said...

Simple and excellent. I always wondered how to make this dish as we order it from our favorite Italian deli in Las Vegas ($10 a plate). My children said it was as good or better then theirs. As a bonus they ate and loved the brocolli. It was a pleasure making a donation to your site.

Chef John said...

Thanks!!! It was a pleasure accepting it! I'm glad you like the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Hey John got a quick question. if i wanted to incorporate some Chicken (small pieces) into the meal how would i do that?

Sincerely The NYer

Chef John said...

sure, just add it with the broccoli.

Chickengirl said...

Hey Chef John! Thanks for this recipe, I tried it tonight and it was yummy. Love the fact that it calls for the broccoli stems too so nothing is wasted.

Haley said...

I love this recipe!! I make is all the time and I add shrimp!! Thank you so much for your helpful tips!!

Jackie said...

I tried it for lunch today. Simple and Delicious!!! I used whole wheat pasta and my husband actually ate it! Thanks so much.

Ameirah said...

I loved this dish as a child, macaroni and broccoli. It's also amazing cold the next day for quick packed lunch. Of course my mom didn't go through the trouble of cutting the stems and stuff, but I will try this version for company.

Nepenthe said...

I'm going to make this and add the last of our leftover turkey. I hope the turkey doesn't ruin it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John!

I am having guests over and was wondering if I could make this an hour ahead of time and then heat it up. Is that something you would or would not recommend?

Thank you,
Erin

Chef John said...

I wouldn't! Angel hair is so thin it's hard to reheat.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting back to me!
What if I used a different pasta than Angel Hair? You still recommend no?
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting back to me!
What if I used a different kind of pasta other than Angel Hair? Would you still say no?

Thank you!

Chef John said...

The problem is broccoli doesn't reheat well either, so the question really is why do ahead anyway? The pasta only takes 6-7 minutes to cook! No real advantage to doing ahead.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tips!

creepyp1 said...

Hello Chef John,

I just wanted you to know that you are my new best friend! lol! You have given me the knowledge and confidence to do more than the everyday cooking. I have always wanted to take a gourmet cooking course. My family have been my guinea pigs and so far no complaints! I watch videos on a daily bases and plan meals to the videos. Keep them coming! The humor as well! Thanks again for posting.

Capri from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Can I use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock?

I am a vegetarian that is why.


Thanks
Sherri (from Barbados)

Chef John said...

Of course!! Did you really think you couldn't? ;)

Anonymous said...

I made this as a side dish (added some chopped spinach to the pasta) to the crouton/chicken parmesan recipe that was posted and it was amazing. Made a ton of food for only myself, but I ate the entire thing.

TopHat said...

Just made this and it was absolutely delicious! Thanks so much CJ!