Orecchiette and broccoli alla Franca
I’ve known Franca almost as long as I have known my husband (39 years). They were high school friends and anytime we visit my husband’s hometown, Reggio Emilia (about 30 minutes west of Bologna), we always wind up at Franca’s house for dinner. Her culinary prowess is as acclaimed as her affable personality, wit and contagious laugh. Recently I asked her for one of her recipes that I could share with GI News readers; she wrote this up for me in less than 5 minutes! Franca says: Instead of the garlic, one can substitute 2–3 anchovies in oil, smashing them with a fork and adding them to the cheese. Serves 4
500g (1¼ lb) head of fresh broccoli
240g (8oz) orecchiette
30g (1oz) freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
1–2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp (45ml) extra virgin olive oil
Bring 5 litres (quarts) of water to a boil. In the meantime, wash the broccoli and divide it up into small florets, trim the stems and cut into small slices. When the water starts to boil, add the pasta and, after about 3–4 minutes, add the broccoli. Cook over moderate heat until the pasta is al dente, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. When the pasta and broccoli are cooked, drain, keeping aside ½ cup of cooking water. While the pasta and broccoli are cooking…
Combine half the cheese, the garlic, 2–3 tablespoons of cooking water and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl; mix to form a dense paste.
Place the pasta and broccoli quickly in a preheated serving bowl, add the remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons) and the cheese paste plus a little reserved cooking water if the pasta is too dry. Serve immediately with the remaining cheese sprinkled on top.
Energy: 1617kJ/385 cals; Protein 16g; Fat 14g (includes 3g saturated fat and 7mg cholesterol); Available carbs 44g; Fibre 9g
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‘Veg’ it up as much as you like adding a diced carrot or orange-fleshed sweet potato or butternut pumpkin (winter squash) and a sliced stick of celery with the onion and other greens (I love asparagus, broccolini, zucchini or broccoli) with the beans. The greener the better. I serve it with toppings such as chopped coriander, toasted cashews or a dollop of yogurt. Makes 6 serves (and there’s only 1 pot to wash)
1 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
500g (1lb) skinless chicken thigh fillets, fat trimmed, chopped into small chunks
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1½ cups (300g) basmati rice
3 cups (750ml) salt reduced chicken stock
200g (7oz) green beans, trimmed, sliced into 2.5cm (1in) lengths
90g (3oz) spinach leaves
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion over low–medium heat for 4–5 minutes or until the onion is starting to colour. Add the ginger, chicken chunks and curry powder and stir for about 3 minutes, until the chicken is golden all over.
Add the rice stirring to make sure the grains are well coated then tip in the stock and bring to the boil. Stir, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Place the beans (and any other veggies you are using) on top of the rice, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the spinach, remove from the heat and stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir the vegetables through the rice and serve with your chosen toppings.
Energy: 1480kJ/355 cals; Protein 21g; Fat 11g (includes 3g saturated fat and 75mg cholesterol); Available carbs 42g; Fibre 2g