Welcome to the re-energised recipe branch of the blog! We’re planning to get lots of delicious missives out to you. Look out for recipes and foodie musings direct from our home kitchens or the box-packing room at Regather HQ.
In last Thursday’s box, I was super-happy to see some PSB (purple sprouting broccoli) and tomatoes. Cue my all-time favourite pasta dish. Broccoli, anchovy and tomato are a classic combo for a reason… but, yeah, anchovies are the Marmite of the fish world. Unless you really can’t abide the salty little critters, I urge you to try them like this. They blend so well with the tomato sweetness and yield a fantastic umami hit. For the non-aficionados, veggies and vegans, dial up the garlic and chilli, add some capers and a few raisins when cooking, and sprinkle on some toasted pine nuts at the end.
I think the secret to a good sauce starring broccoli is to char-fry the broc first, put it aside, then add at the last minute to the cooked tomato mixture. The PSB is very much the head honcho here, with tomato as a support, not the other way around. I tweak this dish every time I make it, according to whim and what’s in my kitchen: maybe add a little bit of chopped onion with the garlic, use fresh chilli, add black olives and/or capers, some chopped parsley at the end.
PSB Penne with anchovy, tomato and chilli
Ingredients (serves 2)
- Penne or fusilli pasta
- Olive oil
- PSB: two generous handfuls, chopped into segments roughly the length of the penne.
- Tomatoes: 2 small-medium or 1 large, roughly chopped.
- Garlic: 3 cloves, finely sliced.
- Chilli: good pinch of dried red chilli flakes
- Tomato puree: 2 tsp
- Anchovies: one 30g tin.
- Salt and black pepper.
- Parmesan or other hard strong cheese.
Put the pasta on to boil, then start the sauce.
Put the PSB in a mixing bowl, toss well with 2 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt. In a wok or pan, heat some oil then spread the PSB around the pan surface and begin to fry. Stir frequently but not constantly. You’re aiming for a very light charring effect, but not blackening. Add more oil if you need to. Remove PSB from pan when the stalks are softening but still have bite.
Use a paper towel to wipe the pan clean of any PSB residue. Heat 1 tbsp oil and fry the garlic for just under a minute. Add the tomato, chilli and tomato puree. Cook for a few minutes then add the anchovies. I like to include their oil from the tin, but drain them if you wish. Break up the anchovies roughly with a wooden spoon and integrate into the sauce. Cook for another couple of minutes, adding a splash or two more liquid if you need to – water or oil. Taste and season, but with the anchovies you may not need much or any salt. Add the PSB, gently mix in, let the sauce begin to bubble again, turn heat off when the PSB stalks are as tender as you want them – I like some bite to remain.
When the cooked and drained pasta is ready, add it to the sauce and mix gently so that all the penne are lightly coated. Dish into shallow bowls. Add plenty of grated parmesan.