chorizo & broccoli pesto rigatoni
I had a story already lined up for today.
It had meetings with old friends, oysters and a battle over the last beer. Old sites renewed and memories of past lives.
But it was hot when I woke up this morning and it seems the heat is settling in for quite a little while yet.
I didn’t want to relive confit duck legs and steak. So I didn’t.
Oh, and I had groceries sitting forlorn in the fridge from a lunch-that-was-to-be-cooked-yesterday-but-we-went-out-instead. Oops.
Oh! The little lunch that could!
It promised a lift from this post-holiday funk I’ve been in, wanting to pick myself up and get going with my properly-slept brain and the newly rediscovered sensation of relaxation in my muscles. Told me I’d be able to grasp that wonderful feeling all over again, if only by the fingertips.
I fell in love with raw broccoli whilst away in Byron Bay.
We ate a chopped salad of it for our first meal there and, intermingled with bits of chopped pistachio and herb, found ourselves quite satisfied indeed. I’ve told myself that I’d try to replicate that meal, somewhere along the summer when I can’t bear turning on the stove, but for now, I’ve just used it as inspiration.
Toasted almonds whizzed together with leaves of baby spinach. Coarsely chopped parsley and mint leaves. A head of broccoli, tips and small stems shaved off and chopped into a pebbly heap. Fresh spanish chorizo (gifted to me from the kind folk at Mr Beak’s) fried in a dry pan so that the fat drips out and the bits of meat become crisp and nubbly. Pasta in the chorizo oil, greens stirred through. Olive oil and pinches of baby bocconcini meddling about. Chilli flakes.
(Don’t toss those broccoli stalks! They’re beautiful shaved and steamed, then served with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and oil over the top, or cooked until soft in stock and pureed into a soup!)
One pot and one pan. A chopping board, knife and food processor. A meal for four (or is it six? I can never tell how many the leftovers will feed).
I didn’t salt and pepper my meal. I usually do, but the flavour of the sausage and the freshness of the herbs and slightly bitter broccoli pesto had my flavour receptors singing. You could, of course, substitute any pasta shape in this recipe, or even remove the pasta altogether and substitute some toasted buckwheat, barley and brown rice for a delicious meal-in-a-bowl.
But I like the way the bits of bocconcini sneak into the gaping holes and whisper “surprise!” as you bite down. The way the pasta ridges hold onto the medley of chorizo oil and broccoli nubs. The sweet bite of the almonds interplaying with the al dente pasta.
- 400g dried rigatoni
- 1 small head of broccoli
- ¼ cup raw almonds
- 100g fresh baby spinach
- ¼ tsp (or less) dried chilli flakes
- 6 fresh (not cured) spanish chorizo (I used Mr Beak's)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- baby bocconcini or buffalo mozzerella to serve
- Cook the rigatoni in accordance with the package instructions. Drain and set it aside to steam cool.
- Whilst the pasta is boiling, cut all of the florets off a small head of broccoli. Reserve the stems for another use. Roughly chop the broccoli florets and then place them in a food processor.
- In a dry pan, toast the almonds over a medium heat (shaking the pan occasionally) until they have small dark spots on them and you can smell the almond oil being released.
- Tip the toasted almonds, the spinach and the chilli flakes into the food processor and whizz until it is the consistency of wet sand.
- Peel the skins of the chorizo and pan fry the filling in a large dry pan over low heat (you can use the same one as you toasted the almonds in). Using your spatula, chop up the bits of sausage meat so that it splits up into nubbly bits. The oil from the sausage will start to coat the pan and the sausage meat will be cooked and crisp around the edges.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the drained pasta, stirring to coat the pasta in the chorizo oil. Add the broccoli pesto from the food processor and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Tear up some baby bocconcini and stir the whole lot together so that he pasta is well coated. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: onebitemore was gifted one packet of six spanish chorizo from Mr Beak’s, which were used in the preparation of this recipe.