Wonderful fresh vegetables for winter

Our vegetable garden is looking good for winter with just the garlic waiting to to be planted.

We have purple sprouting broccoli almost ready for harvesting although we have been sneaking a few shoots early – makes delicious pasta e broccoli with anchovy, garlic and breadcrumbs. It will be even more delicious when the purple sprouts are ready. Oscar is also partial to broccoli leaves, fortunately the fence around the vegetable garden stops him from helping himself!

We have also picked the last of the rhubarb, with our unseasonably warm weather producing lovely fresh growth.

Under the tunnel house is rocket (arugula), pak choi, spinach, coriander (cilantro), radishes, mesclun lettuce, black cabbage (cavalo nero) and kale.

Pasta e broccoli

2 handfuls of  broccoli or spring greens, divided into small florets or pieces, washed
400g short pasta such as penne, rigatoni or orechiette
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and whole but crushed with the back of a heavy knife
1 small red chilli (fresh or dried, deseeded and finely chopped) or pinch of chilli flakes
6 anchovies chopped
Black or green olives to taste
Couple of handfuls of breadcrumbs, toasted with a little olive oil

Bring a large pan of well salted water to a fast boil and then add the broccoli or greens and cook for 6 – 8 minutes or until they are just tender. Using a slotted spoon remove to a colander.

Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan gently warm the olive oil and then add the garlic, anchovies and chilli and cook gently for about five minutes. Do not allow the garlic to brown.

Bring the same water you cooked the broccoli in back to a fast boil and add the pasta. Follow the instructions on the packet, orechiette takes 8 minutes and it is al dente as we like it.

Add the broccoli to the frying pan, stir so each floret is coated with the garlic and chilli infused oil, cover and cook gently for another 5 minutes, mash the florets/greens roughly with a fork. Take off heat and stir in a little olive oil, olives, pasta – taste and add salt to taste.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over and serve.


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