I love this time of year. Your vegbox evolves from, let’s admit it, something which sometimes over the winter might have been just a little bit of a chore, to complete pleasure. Suddenly there is a burst of spring, with new vegetables emerging every day. They return to our boxes like old friends and have us reminiscing recipes of years gone by. I realize, slightly worryingly, that I have probably cooked this recipe every spring for some 25 years now!
Conchiglie with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovy and Chilli
400g Purple sprouting broccoli
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
4 anchovy fillets
A generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil
A pinch of crushed dried chilli flakes
large handful of grated parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A dash of double cream (optional)
To prepare the purple sprouting broccoli, you do not want the stems to be too big and it is important that all the pieces are a similar size and tender. Keep the smaller shoots whole but cut the heads in half or even in quarters length-ways. Boil the purple sprouting broccoli in plenty of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in cold water. When cold, drain well in a colander.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling, salted water. (You can use the same water as the purple sprouting broccoli.) Two minutes before it is done, heat a frying-pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and oil, and fry until starting to colour. Remove from the heat and add the anchovies and a little water. Mash the anchovies up with a wooden spoon until they almost dissolve. Add the chilli and the drained purple sprouting broccoli. Sauté briefly, seasoning with salt and pepper, then add a few tablespoons of the pasta water or a dash of cream. Next add the cooked pasta and a large handful of grated parmesan. Stir and serve.