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Forest Green Orecchiette

Maine Homestead Pasta

Forest Green Orecchiette

Maine, with its vast greenery and untouched wild beauty, is a state that wears its heart on its sleeve. The landscape is an enchanting mix of dense forests, sprawling coastlines, and picturesque lakes. The charm of Maine isn’t just its natural beauty but the rich tapestry of traditions that the locals weave into every aspect of life, especially food.

In Maine, every dish is a story, an ode to the state’s beauty and its love affair with nature. The Forest Green Orecchiette is one such culinary narrative that mirrors the very essence of Maine’s heartland.

Orecchiette, a type of pasta, is reminiscent of small, rustic, ear-shaped bowls that seem as if they were handcrafted by Maine’s own woodsfolk. The very shape of this pasta is perfect for cradling the luscious, green broccoli sauce. When we talk of broccoli, it’s not just a vegetable in this dish. It symbolizes the verdant foliage of Maine, dense and vibrant, holding stories of woodland creatures and whispering trees.

The base of this pasta, the aromatic sauté of shallots, garlic, and chili flakes, mirrors the base of Maine itself, strong and robust, holding together the myriad elements that make the state special. As the aroma wafts through, it’s like walking through a Maine village, with every home cooking up their own versions of warmth and comfort.

The miso paste or anchovies introduce a depth, a character to the dish. Like the intricate trails through Maine’s forests, this ingredient takes you on a slightly unexpected yet delightful tangent, adding umami, the so-called fifth taste, enriching the pasta’s flavor profile.

The introduction of broth to the dish isn’t just a culinary step; it’s a tribute to Maine’s many water bodies, clear, enriching, and life-giving. And when the zest of lemon dances through, it’s as if one can hear the distant call of Maine’s many migratory birds, signaling a change in season, adding vibrancy to an already beautiful landscape.

Lastly, the garnishes – each one a character in this beautiful story. Whether it’s the rustic touch of toasted pine nuts, the luxury of truffle oil, or the traditional sprinkle of cheese, they represent the diverse communities that call Maine home, each adding its unique touch to the state’s rich tapestry.

As you dive into a plate of Forest Green Orecchiette, it’s more than just a meal; it’s an experience. It’s a journey through the woods of Maine, where every bite speaks of the state’s natural beauty, its traditions, and the indomitable spirit of its people.

Forest Green Orecchiette

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces broccoli florets broken into even, small florets (approximately 6 cups packed)
  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta penne or rigatoni can also be used
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chunky shallot finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
  • A hearty sprinkle of chili flakes Aleppo or Urfa biber works well
  • Salt and pepper to taste and some more for adjusting
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste or you can substitute with 1–2 mashed anchovies
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 –2 teaspoons lemon zest

Optional Garnish

  • Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh basil ribbons
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Toasted breadcrumbs
  • Truffle oil or kalamata olives

Instructions

  • Begin by tenderly steaming the broccoli florets. Simultaneously, cook the pasta and make sure to set aside a cup of the pasta water.
  • In a spacious pan, gently sauté the shallots, garlic, and chili flakes in olive oil until they emit a delightful aroma and turn a golden hue.
  • Now, stir in the miso paste (or anchovy) followed by the tender steamed broccoli, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the broth of your choice. As the mixture simmers gently, use a metal spatula to fragment the broccoli, allowing it to morph into a sumptuous, creamy sauce.
  • As the sauce thickens, blend in the pasta, ensuring it is well-coated with the broccoli goodness. Introduce the lemon zest for a fresh, zesty punch. If you find the mix a tad dry, reintroduce some of the reserved pasta water.
  • Give it a taste and tweak the seasoning with salt, pepper, or chili flakes to your preference. For an added touch of richness, mix in a splash of olive oil, or perhaps some butter, and sprinkle over some pecorino cheese if you’re feeling indulgent.
  • Dish out your creation into pasta bowls, finishing with your garnishes of choice, be it fresh basil, grated Parmesan, or any other topping you fancy. Dive in and enjoy a taste of Maine wilderness on your plate!

This dish serves as a gentle reminder. In a world that is constantly racing forward, there exists a corner, Maine, where life moves at its own pace, where nature and tradition hold sway, and where food is not just sustenance but a story, an experience, a memory. And as you scrape that last bit of sauce from your plate, you’re left with a warmth, a lingering taste, and a yearning – for the woods, for Maine, for another plate of Forest Green Orecchiette.

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