Things they said not to do in self-isolation: 1) drink wine for breakfast, 2) go LIVE on Instagram, 3) create a TikTok account. We’re in our fifth week of physical distancing and I did all three within the first two weeks.
In fairness, wine for breakfast is just a mimosa – so let’s not get too judgmental. That being said, I will be having bourbon for breakfast tomorrow – I’ll be hosting a virtual happy hour on CTV Ottawa Morning Live at 9:15 a.m. on Friday, April 17th. I’m planning to make coffee-infused old fashioned and I’ll post the recipe on the blog tomorrow so you can follow along for a real jolt of a start to your morning.
Aside from hosting my nightly edition of Virtual Happy Hour on my Instagram story and being featured in news articles and television segments, I’ve been keeping busy carb-loading and living in squalor.
I have yet to be overwhelmed by the desperate urge to eat a salad or clean my house. Will there be hell to pay when we emerge from this solitary life? Undoubtedly. That first week back at the gym is going to HURT.
I consider this pasta a kind of compromise though – I put broccoli in it, so it’s halfway to being a salad. Let’s ignore the fact that the sauce is brown butter and parmesan. Good news: there are lemons, so we can keep scurvy at bay together.
This dish is a great reminder that food doesn’t need to be complicated to taste great. Just a few ingredients and you’re left with a bright and flavourful meal.
Of the three things I wasn’t supposed to do in isolation, I have to say creating a TikTok account has been my favourite. The platform only features clips of up to 60 seconds and allows for seemingly endless creativity from users – from viral dance challenges, to cooking lessons, to comedic gold, I could scroll through it endlessly.
Yes, I attempted one of the dance challenges and was reminded that I’m not a professional and choreography is way harder than it looks. I’ll probably stick to cocktails and cooking for now, stay in my lane – maybe with a bit of comedy sprinkled in for good measure.
Lemony Broccoli Pasta
- 1 large head of broccoli 1 1/2 pounds, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets, stems peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb fettuccine
- 8 tbsp 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, divided
- 1 small lemon very thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed
- 1 oz Parmesan finely grated, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup pine nuts toasted
Preheat the oven to 400°. On a large baking sheet, toss the broccoli florets and stems with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the broccoli in the oven for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until browned and tender.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling generously salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions (pasta will finish cooking in the sauce).
Meanwhile, heat half of the butter in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium until melted. Add lemon slices and cook, stirring often, until softened and bottom of pot is browned in spots, 5–7 minutes. Using tongs, transfer one-third of lemon slices to a plate; set aside.
Just before pasta is al dente, scoop out 2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Add 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid to butter sauce. (This may seem like a lot of liquid, but it will thicken once the remaining ingredients are added.) Add remaining butter a piece at a time, whisking until each piece is incorporated before adding more, until the sauce is emulsified and creamy.
Drain pasta and add to sauce. Cook, stirring often and adding 1 oz Parmesan a little at a time. Once all of the cheese is added, continue to cook, still stirring, until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy and clings to pasta, about 3 minutes. If sauce looks very thick, add more pasta cooking liquid 1–2 Tbsp. at a time to thin (saucier is ideal as it will thicken as it cools). Remove from heat and sprinkle about 2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper; toss again, add roasted broccoli and toasted pine nuts.
Serve pasta topped with reserved lemon rounds and more Parmesan.
Pasta component adapted from: “Pasta with Brown Butter, Whole Lemon, and Parmesan.” Bon Appetit. March 2020.