Penne ziti rigate with broccoli and speck; braising mix – 8 June 2012

I had no idea what to cook for dinner, but D reminded me this morning that there was still a piece of speck (smoked prosciutto) left. In fact, there turned out to be two pieces. Since I had bought a very nice head of broccoli yesterday at the Bowl, I googled “pasta broccoli prosciutto”. The first few references, including one form Saveur, pointed to this recipe from Chow, so I used it as a basis for dinner, punting when I did not have the right ingredients.

I followed what I could: boil about 1/3 lb bite-sized florets of broccoli 4 minutes in generously salted water, and then dump into an ice water bath till cold, and drain in a colander. Add about 1/3 lb  penne to the water and cook till al dente. Separately, cook finely chopped red onion (this is different) in oil, adding chopped prosciutto/speck when the onion is almost done. When the speck is crispy, remove. When the pasta is almost done, briefly cook a minced clove of garlic in the same pan as the speck, adding more olive oil, then add grated dried bread (instead of panko) and cook till crispy. D commented on overdone garlic, so perhaps I cooked this too long. But I liked it. When the pasta was done, I poured the water out over the broccoli, which warmed it up nicely (after first saving 1/8 cup for later use, and also scooping two ladlesful into each of the dinner bowls to heat them). Tossed the penne and broccoli in the colander till the penne gave up most of their water, then returned to the pan, adding the 1/8 cup pasta water, and the speck and onion, and stirring while continuing to heat a bit. Served this into the now-heated bowls, and topped with the crispy breadcrumbs and garlic.

In another pan, I overheated a clove of garlic (become done at the same time as the pasta) and discarded the garlic, but kept the oil, then cooked some braising mix- excellent greens such as frisee, beet greens, kale, and mysterious other leaves of similar opinion.

D of course brought up our Friday Wine: Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which we get at Costco. Love it 🙂

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