Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pump It Up (Broccoli with Orecchiette)

Carbs are your friend.

They’re especially friendly when you’re doing a new fitness routine. After a conversation with a colleague of hers, the Sweet Partner in Crime decided that she wanted to try doing P90X – a home workout routine that many of you have probably have heard of at some point. Of course, I couldn’t let her go through that alone…

So we’ve started in on this fairly torturous workout set. Honestly, it’s a pretty solid set of exercises. We’re finding that we can at least handle it, and it seems to actually give some results as we “bring it.” There are, however, two drawbacks:

1) The workouts are all around 75 minutes (the power yoga is 90), and we usually can only do them after work.

2) These workouts leave us hungry, but also give us even less time to cook than usual. Even so, we’ve got plenty of recipes up our sleeve to replenish the ol’ glycogen stores. Here’s a quick, scrumptious pasta recipe that’ll quiet the cries of your aching muscles:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 (or more) cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (10 oz) packages of chopped, frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 3/4 tbsp. dried)
  • 1/4 c. shredded pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • salt & pepper

IMG_0792Fill a pot with water. Add some salt and a dash of olive oil. Get it boiling. Get another pot, add the remaining olive oil and put over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add the garlic. (Mmmmm….garlic…) Cook the garlic, stirring a time or two, until it turns golden and gets fragrant – about a minute. Add the broccoli, red pepper flakes, oregano, water, wine, and some salt & pepper. Stir it together. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. This usually takes about 15 minutes.

(Now, some of you may want to give me a hard time for using froIMG_0793zen broccoli. Use fresh if you want to. Frozen is easier to make quickly – and if you’re looking for nutrition, then frozen veggies aren’t a bad option. They’re usually prepared when they’re in season and ready to harvest. Some fresh vegetables may sit around awhile and lose some nutritional value.)

Meanwhile, when the other pot comes to a boil, add the orecchiette. Give it a stir and get it cooking until it’s al dente – about 10-12 minutes.

IMG_0794If you’re not familiar with this kind of pasta – it’s shaped like little flat shells or thumbprints. Since it’s flat, the individual pasta pieces tend to stick to both to the bottom of the pot and to each other. Give it a few good stirs while it’s cooking. Just before it’s done, reserve about a cup and a half of the cooking water.

When the broccoli mixture is ready, turn the heat down to low. Add the cheese and about half the cooking water. Stir until the cheese is melted and well incorporated. Cover and keep over low heat until the pasta is done.IMG_0795

When the pasta is done and you’ve reserved the cooking water, drain it and toss it with the broccoli mixture. If it starts to clump up, add some of the cooking water. After that, plate it up. I sprinkled it with a little paprika for color:





For a wine pairing, find yourself a white on the lighter side of things, but still with a little weight and fruit. We had a Torrontes with this. (Thanks, Joyce!)

Enjoy your carbo-loading…and bring it!

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