from one generation to the next
One of the greatest food disappointments in my life has been my inability to digest pasta dishes with tomato based sauces. I struggle with gluten, I struggle with concentrated tomato.
However, from adversity comes opportunity.
Finding a gluten free pasta that fulfils my pasta expectations has been a bit of a challenge. I almost gave up but improvements in gluten free commercial products in the past few years means now there are now some good products available. My first choice of gluten free pasta is “Garofalo,” imported from Italy. It is made with quinoa, corn and rice into interesting short shapes. Casarecce and Mafalda Corta are my favourite sauce catching shapes. If I want a long pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle, San Remo brand from the supermarket works for me.
Thinking about green sauce rather than red has taken me in some interesting directions. From my cookbook shelf “Lorenza’s Pasta” by Lorenza de’Medici published 20 plus years ago, has provided the inspiration for many experiments which have ultimately become staples in my kitchen, especially Zucchini, Salmon and Dill Cream Sauce. This Broccoli and Bacon sauce has had many incarnations. Both are quick to prepare and make a delicious nutritious meal.
Sauteed bacon gives a deep smoky flavour, the broccoli florets and pine nuts, colour and crunch, while the undervalued broccoli stems, peeled, cooked and pureed with some olive oil added provide the basis for a light dressing to deliciously coat the pasta. Pepper and parmesan we add at the table.
Broccoli and Bacon Pasta Sauce – for 2
3 large heads of broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic infused olive oil
200g short loin bacon, trimmed and diced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
250g short pasta
freshly ground black pepper
grated parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
Cut the florets from the broccoli, divide into bite sized pieces and set aside.
Peel and roughly chop the broccoli stems. Put them into a small saucepan, cover with water, add a pinch of salt and boil until soft, about 10 mins.
Drain the stems keeping a little water aside.
Puree the cooked stems with the olive oil, garlic oil and just enough cooking water to make a sauce the consistency of mayonnaise.
Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta.
While the pasta cooks saute the bacon and drain off any excess fat.
Add the broccoli florets to the pasta pot for the final 3 minutes of cooking time.
Drain the pasta and broccoli then toss together with the bacon, pine nuts and broccoli stem sauce.
After you serve the pasta, immediately drizzle with a little good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Offer freshly cracked black pepper and grated parmesan cheese at the table.