Sometimes life throws you curveballs. Sometimes life throws you ALL THE CURVEBALLS all at once. Sometimes things that would normally bring you comfort just don’t cut it, and it takes you a bit to get back to your regular routine, your regular you.
That is to say hello, I’m back! It’s been an intense past month and a half for me, for various personal/academic/professional reasons, and weirdest part was feeling really unmotivated to cook, which was a really strange state of being for me. But I’m back now! Thanks for bearing with me 🙂
Here are some things I know that comfort is:
Amazing care packages filled with chocolate, popcorn, teddy bears, and hilarious books (and alternatively filled with more chocolate, cheez-its, champs, and Real Housewives plastered around the outside). Indian food on the couch with your roommates. “I miss you” cards from friends. Family dinners. Your sister’s dog just wanting to snuggle. PT Fries and catching up. Pictures of ridiculous llamas. Having one of your best friends fly across the country to surprise you for your birthday. Being surprised by 10 of the people who know you best, who know your heart and keep you grounded, spending a weekend in the most phenomenal house in Mendocino for your birthday because oh wait your friend flying in from NYC was not the real surprise for the weekend and you have the best friends and sister of all time. Long hugs. Fatty mugs of tea. Cheese. I could go on for days.
Comfort is also cooking. Comfort is also this pasta. In my family we call it “broccoli water” affectionately (insert long story about my dad, plain pasta with broccoli). I’d call it that in the title if I knew it weren’t so terrible sounding. Fall has found its way even to San Francisco and I find myself craving warm, comforting bowls of things like this dish. Just do it, it’s easy.
Pasta with Broccoli[ni] & Spicy Garlic-Toasted Breadcrumbs
What you’ll need:
- NOTE: these are approximate measurements. My bad dudes.
- 3/4 lb pasta (I used rotini to catch all the crumbs, but my mom used to make this mostly with spaghetti)
- 1 c Italian Bread Crumbs (I was out, much to my dismay, so I used regular breadcrumbs and added Italian seasonings myself)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- Several generous dashes red pepper flakes (to taste, I added probably about 1/2 tsp)
- 3 (ish) tbsp olive oil
- 2 heads broccoli (I used 2 bunches broccolini because the store was out of regular broc…sidebar, how do you even do that??), chopped into small florets or 3/4 inch pieces for broccolini
- 1/2 c finely grated parmesan, plus more for serving
- Salt & pepper
Go out and do it:
- Get your pasta water boiling (salt it well!)
- Heat olive oil over medium heat and add your garlic. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 1-2 minutes and add in your pepper flakes. Once the garlic starts to get golden, throw in your breadcrumbs. Give it all a good stir and turn the heat to medium low.
- Continue to toast the breadcrumbs (making sure to toss regularly so they don’t burn) until they get a good deep golden color. Remove from heat and set aside until you’re ready to toss everything together.
- Throw your pasta in the pot and give it a good stir so your noodles won’t stick together. When the pasta is about 2 minutes shy of al dente, throw your broccoli[ni] in with the pasta and continue to cook until the green goodness is just blanched and the pasta is al dente.
- Drain the pasta/broc combo and toss with the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I love pepper and like being generous with it here).
- EAT. Be comforted by the warm and salty goodness.