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Spaghetti Aglio E Olio with Broccoli

Posted May 27 2009 11:41pm
Do you want to know a secret? Doo-waaa-doo Let me whisper in you ear. Doo - waaa - dooo Oh, Oh Closer. Doo-waa-doo. Do you promise not to tell?

I have a secret. A fully awesome secret. I found the greatest gluten-free pasta in Cleveland, Ohio. And I found in the most unlikely, yet most likely of all places. An Italian grocery store. You know, the kind of place you wouldn't even think of going into because wall to wall pasta and cannolis are more than you can take. Yeah, that kind. 

Like most things in life, the simplest answer, the easiest solution to your problem is always right under your nose. Italians have the highest rate of celiac disease of any ethnic population. Italy is the home of great pasta. Ergo, Italians know how to make great gluten free pasta. Wonderful if your a celiac in Italy, lousy if your one in Ohio. it? 

Friends, I'm planning a full on reconnaissance mission to said grocery store tomorrow (as when I bought the pasta, I shrugged and said, eh, we'll see how this goes and neglected to talk to anyone or take pictures, foolish, foolish), so I don't want to spill the details yet. But I will leave you with the fruits of my perfect pasta labor, the best plate o'spaghetti I've had in a long, long time. 

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio with Broccoli 
adapted from Food Network Kitchens

1/4 cup of starchy cooking water (from cooking above spaghetti)
1/2 cup good olive oil (I had Greek on hand)
3-5 cloves of minced garlic (depending on your garlic taste)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (plus salt to salt the pasta water)
a dash of pepper
at least 2 Tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley 
zest of 1/2 a lemon
grated Parmesan cheese (optional, I mean, kinda optional, but when is cheese ever optional really? Unless you have a food allergy. Then it's forbidden.)
2 heads of broccoli

Bring a pot of well salted water to boil. Cook Scotti spaghetti (or other, lesser pasta) for amount of time directed to ensure al dente pasta, drain and reserve 1/4 starchy cooking liquid, setting it aside. Put another medium sized pot on a burner, bringing the water to a boil. 

Meanwhile, in a medium pan, heat the oil, garlic, and salt over a low / medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic browns and softens. 

As the water in your second pot boils, plunge a head of broccoli into the water, holding it there for 60 or so seconds (that is to say, blanch your broccoli). You will notice how the stalk and buds turn a lovely vibrant green and become considerably softer. After approximately 60 seconds, remove the broccoli, set it aside, and repeat with the other head. Pull apart (or chop if your not into using your fingers as kitchen tools) the heads into bite sized pieces. 

Mix the oil and garlic into the pasta, adding in the cooking liquid, and zest the lemon over top. Throw in broccoli pieces, parsley, dash of pepper, and salt to taste. Add cheese as desired. Enjoy your simple and simply delicious meal. 

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