I'm not sure if purple sprouting broccoli is available outside Europe, I know I'd never seen it here in the UK until five or six years ago. Apparently it was once the most common variety here in Britain but at some point the green type took over, no doubt commercial reasons involved.
Now it's very easy to get when it's in season, roughly January through spring. It has more flavour than the green stuff and we can't get enough of it. Most varieties of purple broccoli have long, slender stalks instead of one large crown. Everything is eaten on it, stalks, leaves and purple tops.
We get it at our local farm shop but any supermarket will now have it. We also get fresh asparagus at our local farm shop this time of year which is amazing freshly cut - we're going to try substituting purple broccoli in the following recipe with roasted asparagus too.
I found this dish in a magazine but I don't remember which one, cut it out without the details. I've altered it a bit and increased the amount, the original served two, this should serve four.
This is far and away my favourite pasta dish. Humble ingredients, but so, so scrummy.
About 750g purple sprouting broccoli (or green broccoli)
1 tbsp olive oil
50g unsalted butter
2 or 3 cloves of garlic chopped or crushed
Big pinch of dried chili crushed (I often use a teaspoon of chili paste instead)
Couple of good pinches of grated nutmeg (grate your own, it's worth it)
Few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
4 anchovy fillets roughly chopped (you won't taste any fish, they will melt into the other ingredients)
300g (uncooked weight) orecchiette pasta, penne would work too
50g - 75g fresh Parmesan, grated
Trim just the ends off the purple sprouting broccoli (If using green broccoli trim the stalk and cut into bite-size pieces.) Heat the oil and butter in a wide-bottomed pan or wok (one that has a lid) and when it's sizzling, put in the garlic, thyme, nutmeg and chili. After a minute or so add the broccoli and anchovies. Splash a few tablespoons of water over the ingredients and a little salt and cover, cooking on a low heat for 10 mins or so.
Cook the pasta al dente style, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the broccoli mixture toss it through then do the same with the Parmesan.
Sorry I have no lovely photos to show you, I won't mess around with photography when this dish is ready, can't wait to eat it.
Wednesday here is sunny, hope yours is too :)