After all that cooking and baking associated with Christmas, it has been nice to sit back and relax for a bit. I made “Mom’s Chicken Soup” the other night. I needed some comfort food and that soup certainly soothes the soul. We decided to get away for a few days to our mountain house in the Catskill Mountains in New York State. I wanted to just hunker down and relax after the Holidays. I didn’t mean that literally, so be careful what you wish for. We were snowed in for 24 hours. It certainly was beautiful and peaceful, but we had planned on eating dinner out most of the time at our favorite restaurants. We had done a little food shopping, but had not really planned on cooking dinner. Thank goodness for my husband and his sister, who are the type of cooks that can look in the pantry or refrigerator (even a barren one), and can create a meal that you will dream about for days afterwards. I believe that they learned this skill by watching their mother and grandmothers in Italy, who would have to make a meal for many children from very little. Of course, there was always flour and water for bread , pasta or pizza dough, and vegetables from the garden. If they were lucky, the chickens may have laid some eggs, and perhaps there was a rabbit that they could kill and cook. Whatever they learned from these creative women, they certainly brought it to America with them and now share this talent with their families.
So what did they manage to cook in a blizzard? Well they found 2 pounds of spaghetti (it wouldn’t be a home without that), garlic (always have several cloves in the kitchen), extra virgin olive oil (there are always several bottles in the pantry, red pepper flakes (of course), and 2 heads of fresh broccoli rabe which we had brought with us from home (okay, we are Italian after all). The recipe that follows is simple, quick and simply delicious.
2 heads broccoli rabe
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes….or to taste
Wash the brocoli rabe and trim the stems. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the brocoli rabe. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Then take from boiling water with spoon. Add the spaghetti to this boiling water and cook until a dente. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, saute the the sliced garlic and pepper flakes in the olive oil, until golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Now you can add the brocoli rabe and sauté briefly. When pasta is done (always reserve a cup of the pasta water), drain and add to the brocoli rabe in the saute pan. Add liquid and combine briefly. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
Don’t wait for a blizzard to try this!!