Orecchiette with Broccoli and Cauliflower in Saffron Sauce

Aug 17, 2020

This pasta is very tasty. It’s an ideal dish for a lunch gathering or informal dinner. It will require your attention, though. So plan to cook the pasta up to 3 hours ahead and the cream sauce and vegetables 1 hour in advance of serving. Orechiette, meaning “little ears” in Italian, are wonderfully suited for “holding” the sauce. If you aren’t able to find this specific shape, use small shells. 
Ingredients
¼ cup pine nuts (pignoli)
½ white onion
2 garlic cloves
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ tablespoons white wine
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 large head broccoli, about 1 pound
½ large head broccoli, about 1 pound
6 cups of water
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ pounds orechiette
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small, dry skillet toast the pine nuts over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Transfer to a dish to cool. 
  2. Peel, trim, and finely dice the onion. Peel, trim and mince the garlic.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the onion in the olive oil over low heat, stirring, until translucent. Add the garlic, saffron, and white wine and cook, stirring, for a few minutes to blend. Add the chicken broth, bring it to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature. 
  4. Cut the florets off the head of broccoli and trim into bite-sized pieces. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. 
  5. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil with the salt. Add the broccoli and cauliflower florets and blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water; let drain in the sink. 
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir to separate, and cook over high heat for about 8 minutes, until al dente. (Or follow the cooking directions on the package.) Drain in a colander. To prevent the pasta from sticking together, spread it out on a large baking sheet or platter and let it cool, about 15 minutes. Cover and hold at room temperature for up to 3 hours. 
  7. Put the pasta in a large bowl, add the cauliflower and broccoli florets, and toss lightly. Stir in the saffron sauce, add the toasted pine nuts and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve within 1 hour.
Serves 6

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