Cooking with friends is always an enjoyable time and a great experience. I recommend it to anyone who is looking to pass a quiet night with good company and delicious food. The funny thing about cooking with friends is that sometimes you learn cooking techniques that stick with you forever. Whenever you use that technique, you naturally think of that person. Such is the case whenever I make pasta with broccoli. One night in college I made pasta with my friend Nathan, and he literally blew my mind when he told me that you could just drop broccoli into pasta during the last few minutes of cooking. Not only did it add a vegetable to the dish, it also saved a dirty pan. Lately I feel like my hands are a little dry, and I have attributed this to the number of dishes I have been doing. So, every time that I take the opportunity to save myself a pan and some trouble, I say a silent thank-you to Mr. Punwario(this is Nathan’s college nickname that he would not want reprinted here).
Unlike most vegetables, there was never really a time when I hated broccoli. I attribute this to two things. First, my mom used to ply us with cheese-covered broccoli. Second, it was commonly used in pasta dishes. These two disguises allowed broccoli to slip undetected into my diet. The other day I found myself wanting something quick and delicious. It was nearing the end of the grocery week, but I had a bottle of Charles Shaw opened. Past the age of 22, Charles Shaw is never meant to be drank, and only acceptable as a cooking wine. So, I pieced together some things from my pantry with some things from my fridge and ended up with a magical little pasta dish that reminds me of cavatelli with broccoli. (Author’s note: in New Jersey this would be pronounced Cah-vah-teal).

 Brown Rice Pasta with Broccoli

  • 2 c. broccoli florets
  • 2 c. mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 c. brown rice pasta (dry measure)

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, chop the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces, quarter the mushrooms, and mince the garlic.
2. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the broccolli to the boiling water.
3. In a saute pan over medium heat, cook the garlic for one minute in a small amount of oil (just enough to not burn the pan).
3. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 a cup of dry white wine and lemon juice. Stir and continue to simmer over medium heat.
4. Drain the pasta and broccoli, add to the mushroom/wine mixture and simmer until the wine reduces (about 3 minutes).
5. Serve hot. You can sprinkle this with Italian Daiya, vegan Parmesan, or sun-dried tomatoes. Go crazy.