It could have been Hungry Man dinners and Wendy’s every night for me as a kid, but I was a lucky duck and when my father found himself raising a rather rambunctious 5-year-old by himself, he reached for cookbooks and a wok instead of the keys. Two of this week’s great recipes from around the web are dishes that he made often, and recently I found myself wanting to recreate. What I remember most about my father making broccoli and anchovy pasta is that he always added to much parmesean to the sauce and he very roughly chopped the anchovies so there were often big chucks with their little hairs sticking up in the dish. Which was a little overwhelming for the young me. I vowed in my journey of recreation to finely chop the anchovies and go light on the cheese.
The Gourmand Mom has a great recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio and Crazy Englishwoman Cooks! has a great recipe for Broccoli and Anchovy Pasta from Jaime Oliver posted. I combined both of these recipes but either one will give you a pasta that is both light and meaty in flavor. What I liked about Crazy Englishwoman Cooks recipe was that the stem of the broccoli was peeled and chopped and added to the anchovies, garlic and red pepper flakes. I found that the flavor that the stem picked up really enhanced the dish. I also took the advice to cook the broccoli florets in with the pasta for the last 4 minutes of the pasta cooking. I chose a rotini over spaghetti simply because that was what I had in my cabinet. When I make this again and I will because it couldn’t be simpler to make, which I’m sure is why Dad had it so heavily in rotation, I will try it with spaghetti. Not only does this dish have a great smoky flavor with so few ingredients, it is good for you and super cheap to make.
Kung Pao Chicken was always a favorite and a dish that my dad still makes. There are so many variations on this dish, some of them great and some of them awful. Rasa Malaysia has a pretty good recipe. When you read the recipe it does call for a lot of different types of sauce ingredients like light and dark soy sauces and Shaoxing wine, none of them are terribly expensive and to get a great dish with lots of flavor I recommend buying them. The three things that I did change about this recipe was that I use chicken thighs instead of breasts, I doubled the amount of peanuts and I steamed brown rice instead of white, not only because it’s better for you, but the nuttiness of the brown rice goes really well with the sauce.
Last but not least was Spicie Foodie’s Luscious Thai Chicken Pineapple Curry, which was just as easy and fantastic as she said that it was going to be. This dish was creamy, sweet and savory. I did find that the cherry tomatoes were a little weird in it, for me it was a textural issue, but in the end I did learn to like them. The dish without the added chilies is very mild, I added one like she recommended, I will probably add a couple more for next time and there will be next time! I recommend taking a few minutes and touring Spicie Foodie’s website, she is funny as well as a fantastic cook, definitely read her post about mystery canned meat.