Every week since signing up to Home Organics, we’ve received a lovely big head of broccoli in our fruit and veg bag.  The first two weeks, I was at a loss as to what to do with it, feeling truly uninspired by this most healthy of brassicas.

It’s not broccoli’s fault.  It really isn’t.  It’s the fault of my four years of boarding school dinners, and the drowned brown-tinged dull lifeless broccoli that was served alongside limp and lifeless cauliflower (yes, I did just read that in a Cheryl Cole accent) that were slopped upon my plate, leading to an inward groan of repressed homesickness.

It’s the fault of my sister and I going on a highly misguided five day “detox diet” in our early 20s which consisted entirely and exclusively of porridge for breakfast followed by a broth of broccoli and mushrooms cooked in vegetable stock (vegetable stock!!!) for dinner.  We got to day three before we collapsed in our parents’ kitchen and inhaled an entire loaf of white bread between the two of us.

So, I was feeling pretty uninspired by broccoli.  Thus, I did what any tweeter would do if they found themselves in the same position – I asked Twitter how was I to fall in love with broccoli again?

Whenever people who don’t use Twitter are unsure about what the point of it is, I always stress the value of how easy it is to share information on it.  I sent out a call on Twitter asking my foodie friends to help me reunite with broccoli and was sent loads of great ideas.

The method that was suggested quite a few times and stuck in my mind was not boiling, but roasting the broccoli.  Aoife Daily Spud passed on this Barefoot Contessa broccoli recipe found on the Amateur Gourmet, which single-handedly reversed my waning love for broccs.  It’s amaze.  So tasty, with a lot more room for flavouring the broccoli by roasting things alongside it.

Being uninspired by broccoli is clearly the fault of the cooking method of (over) boiling.  In fairness, there are few vegetables that come out flavour-wise unscathed from the boiling process.  Potatoes, peas…kale?

The wonderful thing is, if you can boil it, you can usually roast it too.  Take carrots for example.  Absolutely fine boiled.  Nice, even.  But have you ever roasted them?  You’ll never look back.  Here’s a bad-ass roasted carrot recipe over on Kitchen 72 to get you started.

Yesterday, inspired by Donal’s creamy broccoli pasta and Italian Foodies‘ orecchiette with broccoli and Italian sausage dishes, I decided to roast some of our leftover broccoli from last week’s delivery and throw it into some wholewheat pasta before heading off to work for the evening.  Wholewheat pasta is really tasty and doesn’t leave you with that post-pasta-snoozefest feeling, which would not do at work at all, at all.

What you need for Roasted Broccoli pasta for 3 to 4 people

1 head of broccoli, washed and chopped into bite size florets

2 to 3 slices of pancetta or streaky bacon, chopped 

2 cloves of garlic, finely diced or crushed

1 big heaped tablespoon of creme fraiche

1 lemon

About 400g of wholewheat pasta (or any pasta of your choice really)

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6.

Start by putting a large saucepan of salted water on the boil.

Put your chopped broccoli into a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil then season with salt and pepper.  Scatter with the pancetta or bacon and pop it into the oven for 15 minutes.

Once water is boiling, cook your pasta to the pack instructions.  Wholewheat pasta usually takes around 9 to 11 minutes, a little longer than regular pasta.

Take the broccoli and bacon dish out of the oven and add your garlic. Squeeze half the juice of one lemon all over everything and mix well.

Put the dish back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the bacon has crisped up and is sizzling away.

Your pasta should be done.  Drain and return to the saucepan.  Add the cooked broccoli, bacon and garlic to the pasta, keeping it all in the sauce pan over a low heat.  Keep mixing so the bottom pasta bits don’t burn.

Now add your tablespoon of creme fraiche and mix all around.  Give it a taste, season it more if you like, and also add another squeeze of lemon if you think it needs it.

Serve with some grated parmesan and say goodbye to boiled broccoli forever 🙂

TUNE

Been listening to this track a lot lately, by London’s Summer Camp, and I was having another listen to it while cooking my broccoli yesterday.

I Want You by Summer Camp (on The Hype Machine)