My SSB dish – orecchiette with broccoli, anchovies and chilli

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Do you guys remember that episode of sex and the city when the girls talk about their secret single behaviour (better known as SSB).  These are behaviours or habits (sometimes embarrassing) that you only do when alone.  For Carrie it was stacking saltines (known as premium crackers in Australia) and putting grape jelly on them and for Charlotte it was studying her pores for 10 minutes a night.

We all have SSB that we indulge in when alone.  Some of my less embarrassing ones include trying on half my wardrobe, working out different combos to wear, dancing around the house so hard like I’m on an episode of So you think you can dance, watching really really crap T.V like The real housewives of…series and eating foods that the Dr doesn’t like or may think is weird.

Not that this dish is particularly secret or embarrassing (unless you count that fact that I eat the two serves on my own, oink) but I can only eat it when I’m alone because the Dr hates both broccoli and anchovies.  I love this pasta dish, but that’s because I do love broccoli and looove anchovies.  I’ve loved anchovies all my life.  When I was a kid back in the 80′s, on the weekend’s sometimes my dad and I would drive to Lygon street for a pizza at Toto’s and every time I would order the Marescialla with extra anchovies, I kid you not – what a precocious little shit was I?

But I digress, even if you don’t have the same love of anchovies that I do, you should give this dish a try.  The anchovies really just add a lovely saltiness to the dish rather than taste fishy and the grating of the lemon zest also counteracts any of the fishiness.  But if you really can’t bring yourself to eating anchovies just leave them out but remember to season the dish with some salt.

Oh by the way, just in case you’re interested, orecchiette means ‘little ears’ in Italian – how cute is that?

Orecchiette with broccoli, anchovies and chilli

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 250 g orecchiette
  • olive oil
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 3-5 anchovy fillets
  • pinch of dried chilli
  • couple of handfuls of finely grated pecorino or parmesan
  • lemon zest

What to do:

Cut the florets of the broccoli into small pieces not too much bigger than the size of the orecchiette.  If the stalk of the broccoli looks tough, take the outside layer off with a peeler but generally I tend to leave it.  Finely chop the stalk.

Bring a large pot of water to boil (at least 2 litres) and throw in some salt.  Cook the pasta for time indicated on the packet.

Meanwhile, place a pan on medium heat and add about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil with a knob of butter.  When melted add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Add the anchovy fillets, 3 if you just want a hint of saltiness, more if prefer a bit more of a punch. Melt them down into the oil just by stirring and pushing it down with the back of your wooden spoon.

Add the stalks of broccoli and cook stirring for another minute or so  Add the florets and the chilli and give it a stir and then place a lid on the pan to cook.  Check every now and then and if the pan has dried out, add a little cooking water from the pasta.

Once the pasta is cooked.  Drain, reserving some of the water.

Throw the pasta into the pan with the broccoli, plus the parmesan and butter and stir through.  Add about a one tbsp or two of the cooking water which will bring it all together and give the pasta a bit of a sheen and help create a sauce.

Serve with a little grated lemon zest on top to freshen it up.

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  • http://www.thingsforboys.com/ abby @ thingsforboys

    I loooove this pasta! Each time I make it I put a few more anchovies in it. Yum!

    • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

      a girl after my own heart!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MarlaMeridith Marla Meridith

    Love this pasta recipe!

    • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

      Thanks Marla, I think it’s a cracker!