My Purple Sprouting Broccoli (PSB) has been late developing this year, presumably because of the very severe weather in February and March. One of my six plants matured very early (before the really cold weather arrived) but the others have been languishing - growing very slowly. I keep thinking that they are just about ready, but then I say to myself "If I wait just a little longer they will give me a bigger crop."
Yesterday I had a close look at the plants again and I saw that one of the "Rudolph" ones was beginning to go very loose and straggly and the flower buds were beginning to open. It was definitely a case of use it or lose it. If I were to leave it any longer the spears would go tough and stringy. All three of my Rudolph PSB plants have been disappointingly thin this year, and completely outclassed by the other variety "Red Arrow". I have grown Rudolph several times before and liked it, especially since it usually matures very early in the year, but I now have some reservations about growing it again. I'll try a different variety this year.
Anyway, I cut the central heads of the two remaining Rudloph plants and this produced just the right quantity for the meal I wanted to cook:
My recipe is incredibly easy - hardly more than an "assembly job": cook some pasta; stir into it some Gorgonzola cheese and let it melt; add some chopped toasted walnuts; add some lightly-cooked PSB; season with black pepper; serve! [A tip though: if you want a rather thinner sauce, add a little cream.]
Here's the cheese. I used Gorgonzola, because it melts well without going stringy, but naturally enough you could use whatever cheese you like.
Here's the toasted walnuts. I drizzled them in a little nut oil and toasted them in the oven for a few minutes to intensify the flavour.
Here's the PSB. In order to incorporate it better into the pasta I chopped it into small florets, discarding the thicker bits of stem:
PSB is very delicate and can break up easily during cooking if you are not careful, so I cooked mine separately and added it to the rest of the dish at the last minute. I think it looks more attractive this way too. Cut this small it only needs about two minutes' cooking time, so be careful not to overdo it.
My pasta dish was served with a crisp green lettuce-and-endive salad, and a nice bottle of Sicilian red wine.
In terms of Effort-to-Results ratio this dish scored really well. The melted Gorgonzola gave it a beautiful savoury taste and an appealing sticky texture, complemented nicely by the crunchiness of the toasted Walnuts. It is a well-balanced dish too, containing carbohydrate, protein and vegetables. Really good for you as well, since Walnuts and Broccoli are both considered to be super-foods. We loved it, and it was just so easy to do!