These days, if it isn't being cooked on the barbecue, it's happening on the stove top. The oven is getting it's well deserved rest. Now, I know that for many people, the barbecue is a pain. I won't argue that point. It is. Especially when you've got an old gas one, and have been too lazy to get new "briquettes". And the thing is a little rusty here and there. I look longingly at those shiny stainless ones, all lined up in the store, saluting me with their open lids as I walk by. Those heavy-duty knobs and industrial strength steel grates tell me that those things mean business! But I go home to my little Sunbeam gas grill and am grateful that I have this humble machine. It gets the job done, and what more can I ask?
Well, for one, I can ask for something I can eat at room temperature, and that's made on the stove top. Especially when the weather is hot enough that even the gas grill seems too much. And when it comes to cookin' on top, I seem to be fixated on noodles these days. Last time, I explored the noodles of Japan. This time, I turn to Italy.The Italians have taken the simple noodle and created a vast panoply of possibilities. Spaghetti, linguine, fusili, shells, orzo -- you name it. If you can think of a shape, it probably exists in a noodle. For today's dish, I dug deep into the pantry and came out with bowties. They're quite wonderful for capturing sauce, but let's face it - aren't they wonderful to look at on the plate? I mean, they sit there cheerfully, practically smiling at whatever it is you can dream up to pair them with. They retain their appearance when cooked, so you can design a dish with shapes in mind, as well as colors.
So I had this head of organic broccoli, and a couple of leftover scallions from the soba dish. The dark green would definitely pop against the creamy colored pasta. But it needed more. Then I remembered the 5 purple basil plants I've got growing outside. Now, I have no idea if I'm making this up or if it's true, but I associate purple basil with Asian food, and green basil with Italian. Or any other cuisine that might use basil. Not that Asian cuisine doesn't also use green basil, but I'm not sure if I've ever seen it used in Italian food.But no matter. It's what I had, so it's what I used. Besides, it's purple. And this dish was organizing itself around color, so the purple and the green seemed like a fine idea.
While boiling salted water for the noodles, and steaming the broccoli which I had cut into florets, I poured a good slosh of olive oil into a pan. Then add about 2 heaping teaspoons of garlic, minced very fine. Add the scallions, sliced very thin, and stir for a couple of minutes. When the broccoli has barely been steaming for 2 minutes, turn it off, drain and add to the olive oil mixture. Drain the noodles, return to the pot and add the oil mixture. Add more oil if needed. Add chopped basil (any color will do). This dish actually tastes best at room temperature. Perfect for those summer picnics!Since I didn't have any Parmesan to sprinkle over the top, I did without. Also, if you've got tortellini instead of bowties, it works great. I think the first time I made something like this, it was with cheese tortellini.
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10 years ago