Bright Green Pasta Salad

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:

  1. Roasted Garlic
  2. Pasta
  3. Broccoli

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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Preparations

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

Pasta Salad with Broccoli & Roasted Garlic

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Fire Island BBQs

It’s already day three of the new J-O-B and all I can think about is my next trip out to Fire Island. Though working at Discovery is incredibly exciting, it’s hard not to reminisce of indulgent weekends filled with sun, bbq, Whitney’s Market sandwiches, & inordinate amounts of liquor.

Summit Grill

But the best meal I had all weekend must have been at the Bernacchio Family BBQ. With a piece of equipment like the Weber Summit Grill, I knew the Bernacchios meant business. This six burner propane machine was as beautiful as it was impressive. When I saw a big hunk of prime rib slowly roasting over a fresh new que, I knew my weekend had peaked. This was the best there was to be eaten in Fire Island, well compared to my share house and Whitney’s sandwiches.

And after roasting in its own juices for an hour and a half in an array of dry herbs and olive oil, the Bernacchio Prime Rib was ready to be cut and devoured.

Prime Rib

This perfectly cooked prime rib was tender and seasoned so well it had no need for condiments. And for me, a condiment-free piece of meat or anything that matter really speaks to the great quality and prudent preparation of the meat.

Pasta Salad with Broccoli & Roasted Garlic

 And lucky for me, the sides were plentiful! A bright green pasta salad filled with fresh broccoli & penne accompanied my wonderfully medium rare prime rib. Though the meal wouldn’t be complete without a helping of Rachel’s brownies that admittedly did disappoint. But with Rachel’s crumbcake as the savior, I still managed to satisfy my sweet tooth and my expectations of her infamous fire island gold mine.

Rachel's Brownies

Rachel's Brownies

A delicious ending to a breezy summer day or the perfect meal before a night of debauchery? I’ll let you be the judge.

And to get your BBQ on THIS weekend, head over to Madison Square Park for the Big Apple Barbeque Block Party. Hearty $8 plates will be served from 15 different restaurants spanning 10 states across the US. Among the elite are Ken Callaghan’s Blue Smoke, Pete Daversa’s Hill Country, and John Stage’s Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Let the games begin!

Pre-Thanksgiving Festivities

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving mostly makes me think of eating. And I don’t just mean eating anything out of the ordinary, but delicious seasonal dishes that, for me, begin with the Union Square Green Market. The Green Market is where my dream of endless Butternut Squashes, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Apples become a reality!

On a leisurely walk through Saturday’s Green Market, I couldn’t help admiring all of the incredibly fresh winter fruits and vegetables. Although my purpose at the Green Market was to pick up the infamous $1 3-Pound bag of apples for an apple pie, I couldn’t help picking up a few other seasonal ingredients on the way. The Green Market is mixed in terms of pricing, but you always leave reassured that you’ve purchased the freshest produce of the season.

The Largest Broccoli I've Ever Seen!

The Largest Broccoli I've Ever Seen!

Apples

Migliorelli Apples

$1 3-Pound Bag of Apples

$1 3-Pound Bag of Apples

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

BottleRocketAfter leaving the market I stopped off at a nearby wine shop called BottleRocket. I’d read in a recent Eats.com newsletter that BottleRocket was hosting a complimentary Pre-Thanksgiving Wine and Food Pairing with City Bakery. Although BottleRocket’s interior was slightly small, they made the most of their space by setting up different food and wine stations throughout the store. Each guest was greeted with a taste of Champagne which was followed by a taste of City Bakery’s Thankgiving Menu which featured turkey,stuffing, two different kinds of potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and some gingerbread cookies for dessert. My favorite dishes on the menu were the Multigrain Bread Stuffing with Mushrooms, Herbs, & Aromatic Vegetables and the Sweet Potatoes with Grilled Pineapple and Toasted Homemade Marshmallows paired with the $9 Sauvignon Blanc (who’s name currently escapes me).

And after a wonderful afternoon of mouthwatering Thanksgiving bites and plentiful sips of wine, I began thinking about my own Pre-Thanksgiving festivities. Thanksgiving is the perfect excuse to get together with friends for a nice home cooked meal. And though it isn’t quite Thanksgiving yet, it’s close enough.

A few friends and I got together last night for a Pre-Thanksgiving dinner with all the traditional fix-ins. And I must admit that I was quite impressed with everyone’s cooking skills. Between the Macaroni & Cheese, the Barbeque Chicken, the Sweet Potatoes, and the Pumpkin Bread you’d think one would have their Thanksgiving fill. But until my Christmas Vacation rolls along, Thanksgiving dishes will be a regular staple which I look forward to sharing with all of you.

The recipes from our Pre-Thanksgiving dinner will be posted throughout the week, so please check back for more information about each dish along with enticing photos.

PRE-THANKSGIVING DINNER MENU

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner Spread

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner Spread

Appetizers

Main Course

  • Roast Chicken Kosher
  • Barbeque Chicken

Sides

Desserts