Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Broccoli and Garlic Alfredo

Alfredo sauce is a rich, delicious, creamy classic for pasta. Sometimes it can get boring, though. It can be a bit much as a main course, too. Some people will kick it up by adding a cooked chicken breast. Not a bad choice, but white on white seems a bit much for me, most days. What about adding a bit of green and use up some leftover broccoli, instead? Some garlic would be nice, too. Traditional Alfredo sauce doesn't have any.

Equipment needed
rasp grater
measuring cups and spoons
Dutch oven or large pot
large nonstick skillet

1 small head of broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound spaghetti or other pasta
2 tablespoons butter
pinch of nutmeg
salt and ground black pepper, as needed
chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Remove the florets from the broccoli, cutting any large ones in half. Remove the tough outer layer from the stem. Cut the peeled stem into 1-inch pieces.

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven.

In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the broccoli and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about  30 seconds. Add the cream to the skillet and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and keep warm.

When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the past is tender but still a little firm, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Working quickly, whisk the butter, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese into the cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water, just a little at a time, to loosen. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, ground black pepper, or chopped parsley, if desired

Makes 6 to 8 servings.