YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO OUT ON A SATURDAY NIGHT.
This is something I only learned in my mid-twenties, and what a revelation it is. Sometimes, after a long week at work, the best medicine is to meet up with the girls and have a good natter over a few cocktails. Let your hair down, dance the night away, cavort and frolic into the wee hours of the morn and then grab a much-regretted kebab on the way home.
Sometimes, however, you just want to stay in and have a quiet night with a book and a glass of wine.
A quick, easy supper is in order, something crafted of cupboard ingredients with a minimal amount of fuss. That way you can go from stove to table in fifteen minutes and be happy as a clam for the rest of the evening (leave the washing up until tomorrow. Go on, I won’t tell.)
Pasta e broccoli
1 cup pasta (you’re looking for something that cooks in about 9 minutes)
1 small head broccoli
3 garlic cloves
Small handful pine nuts
Start with the pasta. Put a pot of water on to boil while you finely slice the garlic cloves, and turn the head of broccoli into small, bite-size florets. If you can be bothered, making them even sizes will mean that they cook at the same time.
In a pan, drizzle some olive oil and add the garlic cloves over a low heat. Don’t let them brown, as this will lend a sharp, bitter taste to the dish.
Once they’ve gone translucent, add the anchovies. If you’re a vegetarian or just don’t like anchovies, leave them out and add parmesan cheese at the end.
Cook until the anchovies have begun to break up, then add the broccoli. Add a dash of the pasta water to the pan to help the broccoli cook.
Once the pasta is done, drain and add to the pan. Mix well, and serve with the pine nuts sprinkled on top.
A note about pasta: this is probably obvious enough, but it’s worth mentioning that when you’re adding cooked pasta to a hot pan, if you’re planning to keep the thing on the stove for any length of time you’ll need to underdo the pasta when you boil it. Otherwise, it keeps cooking along merrily in the pan when you don’t really want it to, and you end up with soggy pasta. Eurgh.