This weekend, I returned to my quest for a food repertoire. I also indulged one of my (many) other great loves: leftovers. I find leftovers incredibly useful. I most often cook with the expectation that I will have at least one lunch left over at the end of it. With my new busier schedule as I pick up shifts at the Café, I’ve found that weekends are a great time for cooking up a mess, throwing it into the fridge, and eating it for the next couple of days.
Sunday afternoon, after a delightful brunch of yogurt parfaits and ginger pancakes made by the lovely Miss C. (of Not Quite Vegan fame), found me chopping broccoli and draining chick peas in my kitchen. I had a little over an hour until I needed to run off to the Café for my evening shift. I had returned to my scant cookbook collection, looking for something that was interesting yet simple, healthy and flavorful. I thought that this recipe for lemony broccoli and chickpea rigatoni would fit the bill quite nicely. I found it in the Food and Wine Annual Cook Book: An Entire Year of Recipes 2007. I think I found this on sale at a Barnes and Noble one day and bought it on impulse. The book is pretty, but most of the recipes are pretty impractical. I’m sure I’ll give it some more chances at some point, but I’ll probably not return to it any time soon.
This dish, crated by Manhattan chef Marc Meyer, is indeed simple and flavorful. There’s quite a lot of olive oil—the chickpeas are soaked in olive oil and lemon, while the broccoli is also sautéed in more oil. But the end product was quite nice. The rigatoni provided a lovely little hide-out for lemon-laden chick peas. I’m not very fond of chick peas, but I think I like them in this dish. The real winner, however, is the broccoli. First blanched and then lightly sautéed to tenderness and peak sweetness, the florets soaked in both the lemon and the olive oil, so each bite is full and delicious. The broccoli approaches sublime heights of broccoli-lemon-oily goodness when sprinkled with parmesan cheese. The dish has reheated rather well, so I think it is a good lunch choice.
On other food fronts, I am simultaneously reading The United States of Arugula (by David Kamp) and Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cooking. My biggest problem is which to read at any given time. I suspect that this blog will be Italian-cuisine heavy for a little while….