With summer comes seasonal produce and with barbeques come pasta salad. The result is a wonderful blending of year round favorites with fresh green vegetables like pasta & broccoli!
Although it’s doubtful that my pasta salad could trump Mrs. Bernacchio’s, I certainly try my best with this seasonal recipe whose philosophy is “the more garlic, the better“. But though this recipe has very few ingredients, a bit of multi-tasking is required if serving warm because you are dealing with three things:
- Roasted Garlic
If you are a novice cook, then I recommend making the broccoli beforehand and then reheating it, if serving hot. This dish would also be excellent with fresh or sun dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, artichokes, or even grilled chicken. Feel free to mix it up!
BRIGHT GREEN PASTA SALAD RECIPE
- 2 cloves roasted garlic
- kosher salt to taste
- fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/8 cup olive oil + a few tablespoons for drizzling
- 2 heads fresh broccoli (could use frozen but won’t have as much texture)
- 1 lb penne (or your favorite pasta- rigatoni, bowties, etc)
- Fresh Basil, chiffondaded (optional)
- Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- GARLIC: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel the garlic cloves’ outer layers and slice about 1-2 inches off the top, so you can see the “meat” of the garlic. Wrap the cloves in aluminum foil and lightly drizzle the tops of the garlic before completely sealing. Then roast in your oven for 30-35 minutes or until garlic cloves are soft.
- BROCCOLI: While the garlic is cooking, trim and chop your broccoli into small pieces (slightly larger than bite size). You can either sautee or steam the broccoli until crisp and tender. I usually eye ball the timing.
- PASTA: And while your broccoli is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta until al dente (follow boxed instructions).
- When the garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, peel them from their shells and dice as best you can. Since the cloves will be soft, they can get a bit mushy. The trick is to cook them just enough so that they don’t reach this point. But they are delicious either way you slice it.
- If you time everything correctly (which admittedly take some practice) your broccoli and pasta should be ready at the same time. Hopefully this is the case and you can drain the pasta from the water, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
- You can then combine the steamed or sauteed broccoli, al dente pasta, roasted garlic, cooking liquid, olive oil, and chicken broth. Sprinkle with kosher salt & pepper to taste and then to with the basil chiffonade & parmesan cheese. And voila…. Bright Green Pasta Salad!