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Speedy broccoli pasta a keeper

Thursday, August 15, 2002

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Today's Countdown to Dinner recipe for Broccoli Garlic Pasta is one Candace Phillips makes once a month in the summer because "it's easy and cool," she said.


For pasta lovers looking for a change from red sauce, this dish will provide relief. In fact, it has little sauce at all, just juice from the cherry tomatoes and pasta water.

Candy found the recipe at her hairdresser's shop. "I was getting my hair done and flipping through a magazine when I saw this recipe."

It sounded good, so she scribbled it on a piece of scratch paper and has been making it ever since.

She serves it alone -- "Vegetables are in it so it doesn't need a salad" -- but agrees that a dusting of Parmesan adds flavor.

If your vines are groaning with fruit, use three or four fresh tomatoes iinstead of cherry tomatoes.

An assessment nurse at Mariner Health Care in Wexford, Candy likes to cook and wishes she had more time to devote to it.

"That's why I always read Countdown to Dinner, because the recipes are short and quick," the Cecil resident said.

She does try more involved recipes occasionally because she says husband Paul, a territory manager for REPS Ltd., "likes to be experimented on."

Besides caring for her two cats, Polo and Charlotte, Candy likes to work in the garden in the summer, although "all I'm doing now is watering," and going fishing with her husband.

In June the fish were biting; but in August, no.

"I don't think fish like the heat," she said. We don't think so either, but fish aren't the only ones.

Broccoli Garlic Pasta

  • 8 ounces linguine
  • 2 tablespoons minced jarred garlic
  • 2 tablespoons oil of choice
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen broccoli spears
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Prepare pasta as package directs.

In large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic in oil until golden. Stir in tomatoes and cook 5 minutes or until softened. Add salt and red pepper flakes, stir and simmer.

Drain pasta, reserving 3/4 cup cooking water. Add 1/2 cup of the water and broccoli (see note) to the tomato mixture and stir well to mingle flavors. Add pasta and toss to coat with tomato mixture. If too dry, add remaining water.

Serves 3 or 4.

Tester's note: We recommend cooking the broccoli separately until crisp tender and adding to the tomato mixture at the last minute. Also, if basil or parsley are in the garden, throw some in for extra zing.

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