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Penne integrale in brodo (whole wheat penne in broth…)

May 31, 2011

I started making this meal two weeks ago.

I was sick.  It was a beautiful day and I was sick on the couch.  Joshua went to the store to buy the makings of homemade chicken noodle soup, which is all I ever really want when I’m sick.  That, and toast with cinnamon and sugar and apricot tea.  For these must-have-in-order-to-feel-better food associations, I give thanks to my mother, the best home nurse ever, as a mother should be.

Joshua made me the soup.  He roasted a chicken all by himself (stuffed lemon rind and slices of garlic under the skin, filled the body cavity with chopped onion and apple, and splashed white wine in the roasting pan!) and I dare say it was the best oven-roasted chicken I’ve ever had.  Really, it was a pity to put most of it into a soup.

Later, I made stock from the chicken bones, another practice I learned from my mother.  Much of the resulting stock went into the freezer to be used in a future get-well soup, but I ran out of freezer-worthy containers, and so the rest went into mason jars and into the fridge to be used shortly.  I made an asparagus risotto from some of it (forgot to take pictures of that meal–I had intended to write about that one), and finally, the subject of this post: Penne integrale in brodo.  I remembered seeing recipes for this ever-so-simple pasta dish in La Cucina, which I had to return to the library before even making a scratch (what is smaller than a scratch?…a nick?) on the surface of the endless number of recipes in the book, and so this is my own improvised version of what I remember.  It was very tasty, and I have since made another version of this, adding chickpeas and sauteed swiss chard stalks. It makes for a light but very comforting bowl of pasta, sort of a classy Italian chicken soup…without the (chunks of) chicken.

And wouldn’t you know it?  It was a gorgeous day (you need to understand, we don’t have a lot of those here in Vancouver–at least, not this early in the summer season) and I’m sick again.  I think it’s time to defrost some of that stock…that lovely brodo.

The recipe:

(to serve two generously)

1/2 pound whole wheat penne, or pasta of your choice

olive oil to coat your saute pan

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 medium onion

generous pinch of crushed red chili peppers

as much fresh or dried rosemary as you like…I probably used around 3 tsp. dried

2 cups homemade chicken stock

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, to finish

freshly grated Parmesan to garnish

Bring a pot of water to boil in which you will cook the pasta.  In a large saute pan, or a cast iron pan, saute the other ingredients (reserve the parsley), adding the stock when the onions are translucent.  Simmer.  When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the pan with the broth.  Stir well, add the parsley, and divide into bowls.  Top with Parmesan.

One pot variation:

In a good-sized pot, saute the above ingredients, plus 4-6 swiss chard stalks (chopped).   Add broth, plus enough water (or just use more broth), to accommodate the pasta.  Boil.  Add 1 cup cooked (or canned) chickpeas.  Cook until the pasta is al dente, adding more water only if necessary to cook the pasta.  Stir often.  The result is not so much brothy as it is saucy–the broth deeply flavors the pasta and the pasta’s starches thicken the broth a bit.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 12, 2012 6:21 am

    Sounds yummy! So glad I found your blog. God bless~

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