Tenderstem Broccoli, Broccolini and Broccolette - all names referring (as far as I can tell) to the same wonderful thin, long-stemmed variety of broccoli. It is one of my all time favourite vegetables and when it comes into season I am always so happy!
This is by far one of my favourite ways to enjoy it, as a quick and simple delicious pasta dish ideal for knocking up for a midweek meal that is filling but light at the same time. The amount of time needed to cook the broccoli will depend on how thin the stalks are but as a guide the latest bunch I had were almost pencil thin and therefore needed no more than 1 minute for the stalks and 30 seconds for the florets, but if they are a bit thicker the stalks might need up to 2 minutes.
Serves 2 (easily doubled)
170-200g spaghetti (depending on how hungry you are)
150g broccolini, cut in half so you have florets and spindly stalks
1 generous tbsp extra virgin olive oil (so 1 tbsp plus an extra splash!)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
Good squeeze of lemon juice
Maldon Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Parmesan Cheese to serve, optional
Bring a large pan of heavily salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook according to packet instructions until it is perfect and still slightly al dente.
While the pasta is cooking heat the oil in a large frying pan then add the garlic and chilli. Over a gentle heat cook until the garlic has softened but not coloured then remove from the heat and set aside.
When the pasta has 1-2 minutes left (see above) add the broccoli stalks to the pasta pan. Add the florets for the last 30 seconds or so until they are just tender-crisp. Remove some of the pasta water with a cup then drain the spaghetti and broccoli as soon as it is ready then add to the garlicky oil. Toss everything together then add a little of the pasta cooking water, a good spritz of lemon, a grind of pepper and if needed a touch of Maldon salt. Toss everything well together then serve and enjoy at once, topped with a little Parmesan cheese if you fancy it.
*For a fantastic side dish omit the spaghetti and cook the broccolini as above. It is so good and I can't get enough of it!!