The Spring Festival holiday is officially ending, so chances are you fall into one of two camps: you’re one of the unlucky working this weekend to make up for your holiday, or you have the weekend off but you’re dreading Monday. Either way, you’ve got to eat dinner. Here’s an easy, delicious, and (fairly) healthy recipe that takes two items with which you can’t go wrong (pasta, cheese), adds something healthy (broccoli), and becomes a meal that might just work its way into your regular dinner rotation.
A brief note before we begin: I’m the throw-in-a-handful-or-so kind of cook, so my measurements aren’t exact. But this recipe is so flexible that changing ratios won’t spoil the recipe.
To cook for three people and have enough left for lunch tomorrow, here’s what you’ll need:
About 2/3 bag of whole wheat pasta (fusilli or penne work best)
Around 1 cup (100g-ish) Mozzarella cheese, grated
Around 1 cup (100g-ish) another kind of cheese, grated (I love Kerrygold Dubliner, but go for whatever you like)
3 medium-sized heads of broccoli
4 eggs, beaten
About 1/3 cup milk (optional)
Salt and pepper
Salami or pepperoni slices (optional)
Cut up the broccoli into small pieces, about the width of a thumb. Wash the broccoli then steam it until it’s tender but not soft (about 5 minutes). If you don’t have a steamer, blanch the broccoli for 2-3 minutes in boiling water until similarly tender.
While the broccoli is cooking, grate your cheese. When the broccoli is done, drain it and put on a pot of water for pasta. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, crack the 4 eggs and beat them with the milk. The milk is optional, but makes the pasta just a little smoother.
When the water boils, add in salt, then add in the pasta. Cook it until it’s al dente. It’s good to have the pasta ever so slightly underdone, because it will keep cooking in a minute. Once you drain the pasta, return it to the hot pot from whence it came.
Gradually pour in the beaten egg mixture, stirring the whole time (it’s important to keep stirring so the eggs don’t scramble). Add in the broccoli and keep stirring. At this point, you’ll probably need to turn on the gas again so that the cheese will melt, so put it on a low setting. Now add in the cheese and stir. Stir it a lot so that the cheese melts evenly and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
If you like, stir in some sliced pepperoni or salami; this makes the dish a little more savory and appeases carnivores. If you want some extra protein, fry (or if you’re really fancy, poach) some eggs to go on the side of the pasta.
A note about cheese: it isn’t the cheapest thing in Beijing, but I picked up 400g of mozzarella (which is way more than you need for this recipe) from the counter at April Gourmet (Upper East Side) for only 36 kuai. You can save the remainder and make yourself a pizza tomorrow.
Photo by Ellis Friedman