I try to sneak my vegetables into my food. You’ll see me chucking in carrots to many a stew, spinach to most sauces and peas to practically everything because, let’s face it, vegetables are boring. Now before the pitchfork waving vegans hunt me down, I should say I love vegetables and think we should be celebrating more of them at the heart of the meal. Think cauliflower steaks and spinach pies, vegetables don’t have to be a side dish. This is where this recipe really comes into its own and the salty, earthy flavours will leave you forgetting you were hungering for a steak in the first place. This dish allows you to use the vegetables from husk to leaf and combine them with classic Italian flavour combinations to really make them sing. I use broccoli and cavolo nero but kale or Spinach would work well here. Equally in springtime, peas and mange tout would be fresh and delicious.
Spaghetti with greens, anchovy, garlic and chilli
3 garlic cloves
1 medium-hot chilli
3 small anchovy fillets
whole head of broccoli
4 to 5 stems of cavolo nero
400g spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
Salt and pepper
First, boil the kettle and fill a large pan with boiling, salty water. Once the water is boiling vigorously, add the pasta, stirring once when the spaghetti is fully immersed. Next, make the seasoning mix. Remove the florets from the broccoli and place them to one side. Next, chop the stalk and place in a food processor along with the chilli, garlic and anchovy fillets. Pulse the ingredients until you have a fine mixture with a texture resembling cous-cous. Next, add a good glug of olive oil and fry the seasoning mix on a medium heat until you can smell the garlic. Meanwhile, throw in the broccoli florets and the cavolo nero when the pasta has one minute left on the timer. Finally, drain when the pasta is still al dente, and stir everything together on a high heat, adding a little olive oil if the mix looks dry. Don’t be shy with the parmesan, serve with a crisp, cool white and devour.