A plate of Pasta for me is Home. And this simple, tasty and nutritious pasta: Farro Fusilli with Broccoli, is my kind of comfort food.
I needed to take a little break from the blog, from writing my food journal. I just could not get over the fact that I was doing something trivial while the world had been shaken again by tragic events. The other day, after I left my greek friend at the airport (she had come to visit me for a few days), I took the train and subway, as I usually do, and went to work. As soon as I arrived I read the terrible news that a brutal attack had occurred in Brussels, both at the airport and the subway. People had died on a normal day, on their way to work or travel. And I kept thinking that what had happened to them in Brussels could have happened to me, to us, here in Rome.
We’re living in a constant alert, every day, in Europe. Armed military forces and police officers are stationed at sensitive points, and while everywhere I turn I hear people saying how they feel safer seeing such a huge display of security, I think differently and feel uneasy. I’d rather they were not around, that there would not be any need for them.
This is not the world I want, not the world I thought I would live in. I don’t like seeing worried looks on people’s faces, suspicious glances at one another, at bags, backpacks, luggage, belts and gloves that could hide something unmentionable. I don’t want to pass by -I know, secure- big fire-arms on my way shopping, or to work, or home. I wasn’t used to seeing my city dressed up like that, and I just don’t like it.
That’s why, and now I can sound a bit silly, when I get home, I turn to something comforting, familiar, safe, like a plate of Pasta which, for me, is Home. A vegetarian pasta dish: Farro Fusilli with Broccoli, that could easily become vegan if you skip the grating of Parmigiano on top. But I still like a good dusting of good Parmigiano, it is my icing on the cake.
And as I start preparing my dinner, washing and boiling the broccoli, satéeing them in the skillet with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt and chili pepper (peperoncino), and set the water on boil, every gesture a repetition of simple, mundane gestures, I unwind and smile. I’m home, I’m safe, I reassured my husband in Canada that I’m unharmed and I am going to eat a dish that I love. And tomorrow will come, no need to think about it today.
The broccoli are done, and I like mine well done, no crunchy vegetables for me. Water is boiling, and I am going to use a beautiful spelt pasta that I bought: farro fusilli, that will be a great compliment to the vegetables. A nice toss in the skillet, few more drops of extra virgin olive oil to help coat and dress the pasta, a bountiful sprinkling of parmigiano and I am ready to enjoy my dinner. And my dinner will also be my pack lunch for work tomorrow, warmed up in the toaster oven, as microwaves are not a popular appliance in Italy.
Here’s to life, and good people, and worry-free days.
Song of the day, “Dream On” by Depeche Mode. And I really hope that you take some time to listen to the songs we choose.
- 200 g pasta (in my case, spelt fusilli)
- 300 g broccoli, trimmed, washed, and boiled
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, whole, smashed
- pinch chili pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano
- Clean and cook broccoli in boiling water, about 10 minutes (or until your desired consistency, I like them soft).
- Drain with a colander and set aside, leaving the water in the pot.
- In a skillet heat the extra virgin olive oil with the garlic clove and chili pepper.
- When the garlic is golden, put the broccoli in. Sprinkle with sea salt and cook for about 7 minutes or until wilted to a desired consistency.
- Bring the water in the pot where the broccoli cooked in to a boil. Salt and toss the pasta in.
- Cook the pasta according to the time indicated on the package, even a minute less. Pasta has to stay al dente.
- When the pasta is ready, toss it in the skillet with the broccoli, using some of the water if it seems it is getting dry. Few more drops of extra virgin olive oil, half of the parmigiano and stir a couple minutes in the skillet over low heat.
- Plate and sprinkle with the rest of the parmigiano.
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