Saturday, 15 August 2015

Pasta with Broccoli (Guest post by Linda Poulnott)

At the beginning of the year, I was fortunate enough to host a "residency" of guest blog posts by my friend Linda Poulnott. Linda has lived in the Bay of Naples in southern Italy for over 20 years. Through her total immersion into the language, life and culture of this exciting and vibrant part of the world, she has learned how to cook the food of this region authentically. It is with great pleasure that I am happy to say Linda has returned to Snig's Kitchen with a new recipe for us all. 

Linda Poulnott, your brilliant post author

You may have missed Linda's residency, but fear not, here are the links to her three brilliant and helpful posts:

How to cook like a Neapolitan Mamma (food and cooking advice):

Risotto con Funghi Misti (Risotto with mixed mushrooms):

Parmigiana di Melanzane (Neapolitan Baked Aubergines):

The key thing which you will realise from Linda's writing and recipes is how unfussy good Italian food can be. I have found this to be a revelation. I have, like Linda, tried to cook cheffy and complicated Italian recipes from cook books. Linda has previously described how on her arrival in Italy, she tried to replicate these overly technical and fussy dishes, only to find that the real food of the Neapolitan region could be appealing, flavourful and satisfying without the hassle. 

Linda's approach is refreshing, simple and delightful. This recipe, her fresh trofie pasta with broccoli, is entirely in keeping with her philosophy on cooking. Who would have thought you could rustle up something tasty, healthy and authentic so rapidly? Perfect for a weeknight or a speedy weekend lunch. 

So I hope you will read and try to make this recipe and if you didn't have the chance to catch her previous posts, that you will travel back in time to the start of 2015 to read them!

My thanks to Linda for her lovely recipe, another wonderful guest post that I am proud and happy to include here. 

If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to post in the comments below. Alternatively, I am sure you can ask Linda on twitter. Or perhaps you just want to say hello and thanks to Linda, as she is a friendly and fun person in the twitterati. Just look for @nnamorata. 

Buon appetito, my readers. Over to Linda!

The finished dish: fresh trofie pasta with broccoli


This dish is very simple and ideal to make when you get home after a busy day. It should take you about 15mins to prepare. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

People in the Gulf of Naples eat it in winter when broccoli is in season. It’s a Neapolitan “comfort food” dish. If you can get it, try to buy fresh pasta for this dish. In the photo you’ll see I use Trofie shaped pasta.

Fresh trofie pasta

If it’s hard to find, orrechiette or cavatelli shapes work well too.


A large frying pan
2 Medium saucepans
A wooden spoon
A sieve to drain the pasta


About 300g of Broccoli
150g of Pasta
1 clove of chopped garlic
Couple of glugs of olive oil
A handful of grated pecorino cheese (parmesan is fine to use too)
A few dried chilli flakes or some fresh chopped chilli to taste.(Try not to go too hot if you want the original dish)
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Wash and cut up the florets of broccoli and boil in a saucepan until softened. (Don’t bother adding salt to the water.)

2. Put a couple of glugs of olive oil into the frying pan and put on a medium heat. Add the chilli and chopped garlic,taking care not to burn them.

3. Drain the broccoli, keeping some of the water to add if needed. Add the broccoli to the frying pan and a little of the water. I like the dish creamy so I mash most of the florets with a fork. At this point I add the salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking the broccoli

4. At this point you can start cooking the pasta in a saucepan.

5. Once the broccoli mix is creamy in texture (remember if it gets too dry, you can add the “broccoli water” that you kept earlier!), you add it to the cooked and drained pasta. Mix well and throw in a handful of the grated pecorino cheese.

6. Serve and enjoy!

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