The Sopranos family cookbook, 208pp.
compiled by Artie Bucco, recipes by Michele Scicolone
Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2002
Cooking on page 32
This book belongs to Libby and Daniel, our daughter and son-in-law. Lib bought it for Daniel (long before they were married) because he likes Italian food and also enjoyed The Sopranos television series.
Number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, the book includes 100 Avellinese-style recipes and valuable preparation tips. But wait there’s more, with sections on party planning, cooking for the whole family and Italian–American food speak.
Author Artie Bucco must have had fun adding Sopranos’ treasures such as photos from the old country, the first Bucco’s Vesuvio’s menu from 1926, AJ’s school essay on ‘Why I Like Food’ and Bobby Bacala’s style tips for big eaters. The style tips are hilarious—wear jewelry that says you’re a ‘fat cat’, jumpsuits are okay but not in prison-issue orange, no tank tops, and black and loose-fitting clothes always work.
The recipe on page 32 isn’t anything flashy, but it’s definitely healthy.
Rigatoni with broccoli
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
pinch of crushed red pepper
8 ounces rigatoni
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigianno-Reggiano
Trim the broccoli and cut it into bite-size pieces. Bring 4 quarts of cold water to a boil in a large pot. Add the broccoli and salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Scoop out the broccoli with a small sieve. Reserve the cooking water in the pot.
Pour the oil into a skillet large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is lightly golden. Add the broccoli and a pinch of salt. Cook stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is very soft.
Meanwhile, bring the water back to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is not quite tender. Scoop out about 1 cup of cooking water and set it aside. Drain the rigatoni and add it to the skillet with the broccoli. Add the reserved cooking water and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes more.
Sprinkle with the cheese, toss and serve immediately.
How it played out
Rigatoni isn’t on every supermarket shelf in Canberra, but I can usually find these not-so-common shapes at Supabarn in the city. And sure enough, I found a 500-gram package of it. To make things even more tempting, broccoli was on special for $1.99 a kilo.
I then made this as written and worried, along the way, that the broccoli would break down too much and become mushy. It didn’t. In fact, the texture was very pleasing.
Being a cheese-aholic, I was heavy-handed with Parmigianno-Reggiano. Oh, and I was a bit generous with the chilli flakes too.
A delicious vegetarian meal. Poor John said it would be nice with bacon, but almost everything is nice with bacon. I thought pine nuts could but added but, on reflection, I reckon it doesn’t need a thing if you are looking for an easy-to-make and tasty vegetarian meal.
A big bonus was that the leftovers the next day were excellent too. Yummo!
If you are a pasta lover, have a look at a tasty dish I ordered in Germany.