Anna Boiardi’s Leaving-home Penne Rigate with Broccoli

Listen to the interview.

Anna Boiardi was born in Piacenza, Italy. Piacenza is located in the North of Italy in Emilia Romagna region known for such Italian delicacies as tortelli, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, prosciutto and pasta e fagioli , just to name a few. Anna is granddaughter of Mario Boiardi and niece of Hector Boiardi, both Italian immigrants who moved to the US in the early 1900s and began working at the famed Plaza Hotel in NY. Later the brothers co-founded Chef Boy-ar-dee with their older brother Paul Boiardi. Growing up in an Italian family of chefs was bound to have an influence on Anna. She spent many hours in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother learning how to cook.

The Boiardi name has reached tables across America for more than 70 years. Most Americans have fond memories of the iconic Chef Boy-Ar- Dee. From a very young age, Anna Boiardi spent countless hours helping her mother and grandmother, kneading and folding, and listening to stories as rich as the tortellini she and her mother would work to perfection. In her new cookbook, Delicious Memories,  Anna shares the authentic sauce, meat, and of course,  pasta recipes that inspired the brand.

Out of college and living in LA, Anna realized that many women her age did not know how to cook. While time was always an issue for working girls, most did not have the benefit of growing up in a family where cooking was not only a family business but it was a way of life. When not working as a television producer, Anna began to teach some of her friends simple dishes and encouraged them to turn on their own ovens and give it a whirl. Now living in NY, Anna continues to share her love of cooking with her friends through her dinner parties and her informal cooking class Cucina Academy. Here’s a favorite recipe that both novice and experienced cooks will love.

Directions

My mom used to make this yummy, Parmesan-and-broccoli-flecked pasta a lot when we were growing up because it was a relatively painless way to get us kids to eat broccoli. And when I went to college, she packed up the recipe for me as part of a set of family recipes that she thought would be easy enough for me to make in my new apartment. This was one of the first dishes I had the courage to cook on my own, and it became a staple of my college years. But leaving home isn’t so easy. I remember the first time I set out to cook this in my new life. It wasn’t until I was at the grocery store with recipe in hand that I realized that I couldn’t actually read it: I never could read my mom’s handwriting—I’m forever calling her up to ask her to translate her scrawl. But there I was, first time out, walking up to strangers in the supermarket asking, “Can you read this?” These days, my friends have a habit of calling me from the supermarket at five p.m., looking for a suggestion for dinner. This is the recipe I give them because it’s completely easy and if it’s five o’clock and you’re still in the supermarket, you can still be eating by six fifteen (assuming you don’t live too far away).

Note that the broccoli cooks long enough to turn soft and buttery. When you work it all together with your wooden spoon—broccoli, olive oil, and cheese—the broccoli turns into the sauce. Use a colander with fairly small holes (or a mesh strainer) so that the broccoli buds don’t escape into the sink when you drain the pasta.

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add a good handful of salt (about ¼ cup), enough that you can taste it. Set a fine strainer in the sink.

When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli and wait until the water returns to a boil. Add the pasta and set the timer to the number of minutes recommended on the box. When the timer rings, drain the penne and broccoli in the colander, then dump them into a large serving bowl.

Add the olive oil and mix well with a wooden spoon so that the pasta is coated and the bits of broccoli are well distributed throughout. Add the cheese and stir well until you have a nice, green-speckled sauce. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese, and add some pepper.


Yield: Serves 4

What's Needed:

 

Salt
1-1/2 pounds broccoli, washed, stems discarded, cut into bite-size florets
1 pound penne rigate
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
Freshly ground pepper

 

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Linguini alle Vongole (Linguine with Clams)
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Trio Bistro's Grouper “California Style”

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Porterhouse for Two with Lemon, Potatoes and Asparagus
Best Burgers from the Grill
Tequila Fajitas

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Turkey Meat Balls with Spinach-Tomato Sauce
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Corned Beef Hash
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Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans
Tortilla Lasagna

Beef Tenderloin Stew
Chicken Fricassée
White Bean Soup with Sausage and Spinach

Burger in a Bowl
Teriyaki Turkey Burgers
Pork Cutlets with Three-Mustard Cream Sauce

Chef Rick Bayless' Brava Steak
Beef and Guinness Stew with Potato Herb Dumplings
Salmon and Boursin Baked in Phyllo

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Manicotti Beef Florentine

Steak au Poivre
Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce
Seafood Stew

Holiday Sliders
Macadamia Chicken with Mango Butter Sauce
Open-faced Ratatouille Sandwiches with Gruyere

Beer-Batter Shrimp
Chili with Sausage and Beef
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Roasted Corned Beef and Cabbage
Beef Wellington
Chinese New Year Tradition: Dumplings and Whole Chicken

Baked Dijon Tilapia with Crumb Crust
Jim Beam Tipsy Barbecue Sauce
Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Cabernet Sauce

Lobster Sliders
Mom’s Famous Vinegared Shrimp
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Buttered Crumb Topping

Classic Romaine with Country Ham, Apple, and Sour Cream Dressing
Black Bean & Chicken Burritos from Nourish
Chicken Piccata

Creole Pasta
Spicy Ginger Beef in Lettuce Cups
Orange Chicken with Broccoli

Asian Dumpling Soup
Fettuccine Alfredo
Kentucky Baseball Picnic Bird

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sushi
Crunchy Sesame Chicken Wings
No-Knead Pizza Dough

Smoked Salmon Puff Pastry Pizza with Capers & Dill
Lemon Mustard Salmon Salad
Baked Mediterranean Snapper

Mexican Meatballs
Ghoulish Pasta
Better BLT's

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Buttered Crumb Topping
Coconut Shrimp and Rice Noodle Bowl
Minestrone Salad

Italian Wedding Soup
Coffee Dusted New York Strip
Japanese-style Sirloin

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Ricotta-filled Crepes with Berries
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Roasted Salmon with Pernod Sauce from Wini Moranville
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Double Decadence Chocolate Cake
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Brewing Tea

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