Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pasta with Broccoli, Arugula and Tomatoes

I've had arugula before, but I have never personally cooked with it. As it happned, I have some growing in my yard this spring.
Arugula is a bitter green, also know as "aromatic" by people who find bitter to be too negative a word. It has a peppery flavor that kicks in a few seconds after you begin to chew on it. It wilts like spinach, so it can be used in many of the same applications, like pasta dishes and salads. I had a nice bit of broccoli in my fridge that I wanted to use and some arugula seemed like a good accent to a broccoli-pasta dish.
This was a fun dish, with the unusual pasta shape and bright flavors of all the ingredients. The only change I would make would be to add the cheese a bit earlier, as noted in the recipe below, to give it a change to melt slightly into the sauce. It was a good combo and incredibly simple to make. Who doesn't love that in a weeknight dinner? This recipe is also flexible, so if you prefer a more veggie-heavy dish, simply increase the amount of broccoli and reduce the pasta a bit. Vice versa, if you decide you are having a grving for the pasta itself

Pasta with Broccoli, Arugula and Tomatoes
2 cups broccoli florets (8 oz)
2 cups Fiori pasta (6 oz) (or other small shape)
1 can (14-16 oz) fire roasted tomatoes (or 8 medium tomatoes, roasted)
3-4 cloves garlic
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup feta (or other cheese)
salt and pepper

Bring water to a boil in a pot large enough to hold pasta and broccoli. Add salt, then add pasta and broccoli. Boil for 6-7 minutes, until pasta is al dente.
Meanwhile, saute garlic in a bit of olive oil in a large saucepan for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and crush with a spatula. Turn heat to low, add salt and pepper to taste. Add arugula.
Drain pasta and broccoli and pour into saucepan with tomatoes and arugula. Add feta cheese. Turn heat up to medium and cook for two minutes, until sauce is hot and arugula is slightly wilted.
Serve with crusty bread.
Makes 3-4 servings, depending on appetites of those served.