This recipe was inspired by a dish I enjoyed when I was in Italy many years ago.
The family who served me this meal had taken me earlier that day to a gorgeous beach on the banks of the deep-blue Mediterranean Sea. It was a day that I will never forget - especially since I prepare this dish often, and relive that experience in my mind each time.
8 ounces penne pasta
2 cups bite-size fresh broccoli florets (approx. 8 ounces)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brine-packed capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (optional; more or less to taste)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Blanch the broccoli by boiling for one minute (or microwaving for 1 or 2 minutes with 2 tablespoons of water) until crisp-tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, and drain.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, just until the aroma starts to emerge. Do not let the garlic get brown.
Add the capers to the garlic, along with the red pepper flakes, if using. Saute for about 30 seconds.
Add the broccoli to the skillet, and saute for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
Add the drained pasta, along with salt and pepper to taste. (Go easy on the salt, as the capers are somewhat salty.)
Saute over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to blend all the flavors.
-- Serves 3-4