Do not check your address bar: you’re still here at The Manhattan [food] Project and yet–and yet!–you are still seeing broccoli in the picture above. My nemesis, my foe, the vegetable that gets the bulk of my scorn has somehow made it into our kitchen and into food–into pasta, of all things–and somehow I didn’t throw a fit. Well, not a large fit.
Michael was able to get away with this subterfuge because this farfalle and broccoli pasta salad was part of a sizable spread we had set up for a Sunday afternoon of watching the World Cup (a sporting event that has completely drawn me in) with some of Michael’s colleagues from his lab. They went out for a run Sunday morning and therefore missed most of Italy versus New Zealand, so we DVR’d it and had it queued up to watch when they came over a little before noon.
So how did I let Michael get away with bringing broccoli into our kitchen? I insisted on making this:
Of course Michael had to turn the afternoon into a competition of sorts when I made this suggestion, so Saturday night found us trash-talking each other using every cliché we could think of from Top Chef and then Michael making our guests feel just a wee bit uncomfortable as he told them to tell us which pasta salad they liked more. A winner was not determined, but both bowls had far less than they did when I laid them out, so I guess it doesn’t matter that much anyway.
As for the main course, we had a dilemma: how to provide a filling, satisfying dish but still avoid having to use the stove and/or oven if possible. We knew the weather would bring humidity and heat, so anything we could do to reduce that would be a help in keeping the living and dining rooms cool, so I suggested making panini with the Griddler. I picked up a selection of cheeses at Fairway, settling on fresh mozzarella, cacio di Roma and pientino, all mild cheeses that melted nicely and paired well with a little domestic prosciutto and roasted red peppers. Our guests could pick the amount of bread they wanted and then build the sandwich to their own specifications and then I would press them.
We had other snacks as well, ranging from hummus and pita chips to lots of olives and these seasoned almonds first featured in an episode of Good Eats, and dessert entailed a big bunch of grapes and a pint of strawberries. We had sangria and I was planning on making caipirinhas, but everyone ended up having to leave before the 2:30 Brazil vs. Côte d’Ivoire game so Michael and I, free from the constraints of a normal Sunday as we had managed to get cleaning, exercise and food shopping out of the way, spent a leisurely afternoon watching the game and sipping on some cocktails, all the while grazing on our leftovers when hunger struck.
It was a surprisingly delightful afternoon, and something I hope becomes a tradition around these parts: spending a quiet Sunday afternoon feasting on food and watching sporting events or a movie or whatever with friends. And since I’m in a charitable mood, I’m even deigning to share Michael’s magical pasta salad recipe–if you like broccoli, well, I’m told that this is good.
Farfalle with Broccoli, Carrots and Tomatoes
- 1 1lb farfalle pasta
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 3 carrots
- 1-2 large in broccoli heads (that’s what she said)
- 2 bunches of scallions
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1+ cups of Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 container grape tomatoes
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta about one or two minutes less than recommended on package directions. Clean and slice the carrots into thin rounds, and cut the broccoli into small florets and roughly dice the stalks, and thinly slice the green onions.
Heat the peanut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and add minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add broccoli and carrots, and cook 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are softened but are still crisp. Add the scallions and cook for another 30 seconds, season well with salt and remove from heat. Mix the vegetables and the pasta, let cool and then add tomatoes and cheese (note: if cooking ahead of time, wait to add the tomatoes and cheese until about an hour before serving).
All ingredients (save the pasta) can be increased to taste; if you like certain vegetables and want to have more, adjust accordingly and turn it into a more, the merrier situation.
As an added bonus, we even learned something from one of Michael’s Italian colleagues on how to make the best iced coffee ever (but to be fair, both have imparted wonderful culinary knowledge; I’ve learned an astounding amount in the short time I’ve known them) which we will be sharing in an upcoming post.