Have you ever been asked what your favourite meal was when you were growing up? Or which dish reminds you most of home? I have, and its always a close tie between my Nonna’s chicken noodle soup and Mom’s “Nouilles à l’ail” (roughly translated to garlic noodles).
In honour of Valentine’s day, and the love I have for my Mom, I made us last night a batch of my mom’s famous “Nouilles à l’ail”. The first bite of it took me back to when I was in grade school: this used to be our ultimate favourite! As a busy person, I can now understand why Mom would make this on a busy school night. It literally takes under 15 minutes to make (the time that your noodles cook), it’s healthy, and it’s an excellent way to sneak in some highly repulsive vegetable (broccoli… and to set the story straight, I’ve always loved broccoli).
So, if you’re a busy mom/person, or you have a child/adult-child that still refuses to eat his greens, I definitely suggest giving this a try! You can always tell them its a new type of green pesto, because with all the garlic and parmesan in it, you could barely tell the difference! Just a friendly FYI… be aware that this isn’t an appropriate lunch when you have to give a really important meeting, or if you’re going on a date. Unless your date eats this too. Garlic breath is a silent but smelly killer.
What you’ll need
- 1 head of broccoli, washed and roughly chopped into florets
- half a head of kale (optional)
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves (I go Buffy the Vampire Slayer level with the garlic, so 3 large cloves will do)
- 1 glug of olive oil
- 15 to 30g parmesan (optional)
- 60g feta cheese (if you’re vegan, try finding mediterranean flavoured tofu, it will give it a similar taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- pasta of your choice, but I highly recommend anything with grooves so that the brocoli pesto catches and coats the noodles
Wash and cut your brocoli and kale to start.
Steam your broccoli (on stove top or microwave) until you can pierce it with a fork, but not so that it’s limp (make sure it still has some crunch), then place it in a food processor with the kale, garlic, parmesan, feta, olive oil, and whiz it up until you get a chunky yet uniform consistency.
Whizzing it up really finely is a crucial step, especially if you’re trying to convince a child/adult-child that it is in fact NOT broccoli that they are about to eat.
In a big mixing bowl, combine your cooked pasta and broccoli mixture and serve it hot! Feel free to add crumbled feta or a sprinkle of parmesan. Watch with satisfaction as you’ve successfully fooled everyone at the table!
This is also a great substitution for stuffing you would use for a stuffed pasta shell recipe, replacing the spinach and ricotta cheese, or even as a type of pesto on a pizza!