Two ways with slow-cooked garlic broccoli

The British are famous for over-cooking their vegetables, but in this case, it feels wrong to cook the broccoli until it is meltingly soft.  Ignore your instincts and take a risk Ė itís not pretty, but it tastes wonderful.  Karen Thomasís picture opposite shows the broccoli just after it has gone into the pan.  The first two steps of this recipe make a robust-flavoured vegetable dish; the last step transforms the broccoli into a pecorino-rich sauce for penne.

This recipe and photo comes from my latest book  Simply Veg: A Modern Guide to Everyday Eating (see Books).

Serves 2

250g/9oz broccoli (one head)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 fresh or dried red chilli

For pasta

115/4oz penne

55g/2oz pecorino cheese

1  Separate the broccoli stalks from the florets, trying to create even-sized pieces. Using a potato peeler, pare away the tough outer skin of the thick stalk and cut into even sized-lengths, similar in size to the florets. Drop them into a pan of boiling unsalted water.  Cook for 3 minutes, then drain.

2  Meanwhile, set a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Add the oil, whole garlic cloves and chilli. Once hot, mix in the broccoli and season to taste. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook gently, stirring regularly, for about 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is meltingly soft.  Discard the chilli and garlic cloves.  Serve immediately as a vegetable or mix in the pasta at this stage.

3  If you making the slow-cooked broccoli with penne, drop the penne into a saucepan of boiling salted water about 10 minutes before the broccoli is ready. Cook the pasta briskly until al dente, drain and quickly tip into the cooked broccoli while the water is still clinging to the penne. Add the grated pecorino and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.



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