supper club #1: broccoli mozzarella penne

Posted on | 14 January 2010 | No Comments

so one of my new year's resolutions was to start a dinner club with some ladies i know that love to cook & eat as much as myself. last night was the kick-off and a huge success (due in large part to jenika's new kitchen playing host). with italian as the theme, i made a tried and true family favorite from marcella hazan, and it was a huge hit. so i thought i'd share it with you today. two words: garlic & mozzarella.

...via playfish & 21food

1/2 pound broccoli
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 pound mozzarella, chopped fine
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese plus more cheese to grate at the table

Detach the florets and any small leaves from the broccoli. Pare away from the broccoli’s main stems, and from the larger of the florets’ stems as well, the hard, dark green rind and any other tough stringy part. Cut the thick, detached stems lengthwise in half. Wash the stems under cold running water, and the florets in several changes of cold water.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt and the thick main broccoli stems. (The salt is to keep the broccoli green and will not make it salty). Cook for 6 or 7 minutes, then add the florets. When the water returns to a boil, cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the thickest broccoli piece feels tender when tested with a fork. Drain, and as soon as the vegetable is cool enough to handle comfortably, chop it fine.
In a 12-inch skillet put the oil, butter and chopped garlic, and turn on the heat to medium. Cook the garlic, stirring frequently, until it becomes colored a pale gold.
Add the chopped broccoli and a little salt, turn it two or three times to coat it well, then take the pan off heat.
Cook the pasta in abundant salted boiling water to a very firm al dente consisntency. Drain it, collecting in a small bowl better than half a cup of the water.
Add the drained pasta to the pan containing the broccoli; turn on the heat to high; turn over the pasta and broccoli three or four times; then add the chopped mozzarella, the parsley, the 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water that you previously collected.
Briskly turn over the pasta until the mozzarella has fused and the water has been entirely absorbed or boiled away.
Transfer to a warm bowl and serve at once with additional Parmesan to grate at the table.
Makes 4 large or 6 small servings.