Stalk of broccoli
#100daysofcooking, Recipes

Day 33: Stalking the perfect broccoli-pasta pairing


Thai Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli


It happens like this: Dan or I will be rooting through the refrigerator on a “what should we have for dinner” mission, and we will come across a lonely stalk of broccoli, sometimes with its florets starting to yellow and going to seed.

When you think about it, the disintegration of broccoli is quite dignified compared to, say, the mess of a decomposing cucumber.

But I digress.

When you run across broccoli nearing its best-before date, there are options: cook it and hide it under a cheese sauce; send it to the compost; or give it an elegant ending in this easy Thai pasta dish. (OK, you probably have other suggestions, but I am trying to make a point here.)

This is another recipe from Anne Lindsay’s Light Kitchen cookbook. The broccoli gives colour and crunch but more important, its florets are a great carrier for the Thai peanut sauce. As far as I am concerned, this sauce is the best reason — possibly the only good reason — to buy peanut butter.

The recipe also handles substitutions quite well. Asparagus fills in admirably for the broccoli, if that is what you’ve got on hand. I always add some red peppers because I really like red peppers. I’ve even used cauliflower instead of broccoli, then popped in some green peas for colour.

If you like things spicy, add a bit more chili-garlic sauce.

Kitchen cast-away avoided

Broccoli

Thai Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli
Thai Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli: broccoli, chicken and a spicy peanut sauce jazz up plain old pasta.

This is how we did it

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 3 – 4 cups broccoli, cut into small florets. Trim away seedy bits if your broccoli, like mine, has gone from old to older
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size strips (Tip: cut chicken when it is slightly frozen, it is so much easier)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 250 g  pasta (linguine or spaghettini are my favourites for this)

For the sauce

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili-garlic sauce

Method

First make the sauce by whisking together the ingredients, then set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a bit of oil and cook the pasta. When there is about five minutes left for the pasta, put the broccoli and carrots into the water and let them cook in the pasta water. Drain when cooked and return to the pot.

In a large non-stick pan, heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute the red pepper until tender. Remove the peppers and set aside.

Heat another 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the chicken and cook, stirring for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until cooked. Add the sauce, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let cook for a few more minutes. The sauce should reduce a bit.

In a bowl, or right in the pasta pot, combine the pasta and veggies, the pepper, the chicken and the sauce. Toss to mix well and enjoy.


Curious about my “Kitchen Castoffs” concept? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project.

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