This was a meal born out of necessity. We wound up with two green veggies that needed to be eaten quickly, before they went to waste, and one of them was broccoli.
Now, broccoli doesn’t set fear in the heart of our children. They actually like it pretty much, and it regularly comes back in the rotation , simply steamed until it’s softened just enough and still bright green,as a side for the meat or fish and two veg kind of meals.
But that night, we felt more like having the other veg (green beans, I think), and quickly figured that broccoli could fit in nicely with the pasta we had scheduled for the next evening. We steamed the broccoli, just a little less than for eating it right away, and put it in the fridge for the next day.
Of course, you could cook the broccoli while the water is boiling to make the pasta, the same night. The important thing is to keep it al dente, so it doesn’t fall apart as you integrate it with the sauce and toss it with the pasta.
To prepare the sauce, we started by cooking some bacon until crisp, draining it, and then chopping it into small pieces. We then took most of the fat out of the frying pan, and fried a finely chopped small onion in the remaining fat, over medium heat, until the onion melted nicely. Then we added the chopped bacon back in, some freshly ground pepper and then a good cup of cream.
When the cream heated up, we integrated some grated cheese (half sharp cheddar, half gruyère – either could have done the job on its own) and let it melt into the cream. We then put it the broccoli, chopped into small florets (and the stems, chopped into half-inch pieces) and stirred it in gently, then let it warm with the rest of the sauce over low heat, as the pasta finished cooking.
We picked short pasta, more specifically farfalle, to go with this particular sauce, because we thought the size of the pasta would fit well with the pieces of broccoli. Penne or rotini could do well too.
We tossed the sauce gently with the cooked pasta (if the sauce seems a little short, add some extra cream) and served hot. It disappeared off the plates at record speed.
For one bunch of broccoli, we used about a pound and a half of pasta, one small onion, a big cup of cream, 200 grams of cheese and seven or eight slices of bacon. Roughly. Proportions can be adjusted to taste and preferences, of course.