I don't know about you, but as December comes to a close and January draws near I find myself gathering recipes that are both easy and light. After all, December always seems filled with such decadent meals filled with recipes that take hours (if not days) to make, and by the time the last week in December rolls around I'm ready to not spend so much time in the kitchen for a beat. Enter recipes like this one, which takes less than 20 minutes to throw together and feels both satisfying and light at the same time. I have used romanesco here, although you can easily substitute broccoli or cauliflower if you can't find romanesco. I just love both the flavor and the look of romanesco, which is an absolutely gorgeous vegetable and is in season this time of year. And the spice comes from my Six Alarm Crushed Chile Blend, which lends both heat and flavor. If you're feeding people that are sensitive to spice, however, you can feel free to omit it.
No matter what substitutions you make, this quick and easy recipe is sure to become one of your winter go-to meals.
Let's get cooking, shall we??
Easy Spicy Pesto and Romanesco Pasta
1 medium head romanesco
1 pound short dried pasta of choice (I used a whole wheat fusilli)
Extra virgin olive oil
2-3 anchovy fillets, minced (optional but highly recommended)
1 cup basil pesto (store bought is just fine)
1 teaspoon Six Alarm Crushed Chile Blend (plus more if desired)
2 tablespoons grated Parmeggiano Reggiano
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
Trim the romanesco into bite-sized florets. Discard the stalk or save it for another use. Add florets to the pot of boiling water and cook 2-3 minutes, until the florets are just starting to become tender but are not yet completely soft. Use a slotted spoon to transfer florets to the ice bath to cool completely. Drain and set aside.
Bring the pot of salted water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet and add the minced anchovy, if using. Cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds and then add the romanesco florets and cook for another 2-3 minutes to heat the romanesco through. Remove the pan from the heat until the pasta is ready. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente use your slotted spoon to add it to the skillet with the romanesco. Add the pesto, the Six Alarm Crushed Chile Blend, and about 1/4 cup of pasta water and stir to coat. Add more Six Alarm Crushed Chile Blend if you like more of a kick. Add Parmeggiano Reggiano and another splash of pasta water and stir to coat.
Transfer pasta to bowls and sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.