I like a good pasta dish. I like a bad pasta dish. In fact, I’ve never met a pasta dish I didn’t like (with the possible exception of that one time I went out for Thai food and felt all ballsy and asked for “hot” spice on my noodles and bad, very bad things happened to me and my insides). So, you get it, I’m not hard to please when it comes to pasta. But some nights, boiling some water and throwing on random marinara, beautifully simple as that is, doesn’t satisfy my cooking craving. Even tonight, cooking for myself, I felt this tiny tickle of ambition. I’ve learned that when I feel that tickle, I need to grab it and go with it. It’s the same tickle that allows me to change into my running clothes on really cold or rainy days (and every runner knows that getting into your running clothes is 90% of the battle…actually, for me it might be more like 99%. rare is the occasion that once I’ve already gotten all outfitted do I not follow through with an actual run).
What was I saying? Oh yes, cooking. It’s the same deal. I almost reached for a frozen quiche tonight and then something within me was like…Yo, I kinda feel like chopping some stuff. So chop I did, and disappointed I was not.
This is another little gem from the Tassajara Cookbook. What I like is that the recipe is so simple (I had most of the main ingredients hanging around) and yet there’s something a little bit different about it. It’s interesting enough to not feel like a cop out, as pasta dishes often feel to me. It’s also pretty flexible. I swapped out the broccoli for some fresh spinach and I was not disappointed, although I’m sure the broccoli would’ve added a lovely crunch.
The mustard, butter, garlic, and parsley make a nice and tangy combination, and the most important thing is that it wasn’t too dry. Sometimes pasta and butter dishes need like STICKS of butter before they don’t feel all starchy and gross, but since the mustard kinda thinned out this sauce, it was just the perfect coating for my al dente fusili.
Of course it could’ve benefitted from some fresh parmesan grated ever so delicately on top, but as I have expressed before, some sister of mine does not see the urgency in buying a grater of any kind, and me and the dull serrated knife didn’t really feel like going at it tonight. I don’t know, he was tired. I had a headache. So, instead, afterwards, I ate about 2 pints of ice cream and told the serrated knife that I didn’t care if he went out with his guy friends tonight, but don’t expect your boxers to be washed when you get back because NOW THAT YOU HAVE DRIVEN ME TO EATING ENTIRE BINS OF ICE CREAM I AM TOO FAT TO CARRY YOUR UNGRATEFUL LAUNDRY BASKET DOWN THE BASEMENT STAIRS! Wait, what?
Mustard Butter Pasta with Broccoli
from the Tassajara Cookbook
5/8 cup butter
4 tbsps Dijon mustard (or your favorites)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsps parsley, well-minced
2 tbsps chives, finely sliced, or green onion, sliced and minced (these I omitted so I’ll never know how much of a difference they make)
salt & pepper
1 tbsp oil
2 cups broccoli, cut into small flowerettes (I used about the same amount of fresh spinach)
3/4 lb pasta, fettucine or linguine (or the TWISTY kind, friends!)
Set out the butter early to soften up. When it’s soft, blend in the mustard.
Slice the garlic and pound it in a mortar with a healthy pinch of salt. When it’s fairly pulpy, add the parsley and chives (or green onions) and continue pounding for a short while to release their flavors.
Blend this mixture into the butter, along with a few twists or black pepper.
Use a large pot to boil a generous amount of water with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of oil.
Fan the pasta into the boiling water. If you are using fresh pasta, add the broccoli at the same time. When using dried pasta, add the broccoli the last couple minutes of cooking.
As soon as they are done, scoop out the pasta and the vegetables with an oval strainer, or drain in a colander. Put the pasta and broccoli in a 12-in skillet, allowing some of the water to dribble in with it.
Add the prepared butter and, over moderate heat, toss the pasta with tongs until it is evenly coated. Keep the heat low enough that the butter does not bubble or fry–that will change the flavor.
Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.