Nutritional information,  Savoury

Pasta with broccoli sauce and narcoleptic hamsters

Pasta with broccoli sauce

I am half way through a thermal cure at the moment. In France, if you have a painful body and a doctor’s prescription, you’re good to be smothered in healing mud, and soaked in thermal water for three weeks. You might think that three weeks of pampering would be relaxing, make you happy, and possibly even alleviate the need to whinge. And it is for most people. With the exception, of course, of the person that constantly insisted on seeking me out. She had issues. In fact, her issues had issues: The water was too warm, the therapists late (three whole minutes in one case, can you believe?), the massages too tiring, the food too filling, the coffee too strong, the mineral water too ‘minerally’, and the sun too bright. The upshot was that she decided that she wasn’t coming back. I said that I was certain that a little ray of sunshine like her would be sorely missed; she was so distracted naval gazing that she took the comment at face value.

The vines and their hamsters

My hairdresser, who is a hunter (incongruous, but true), told me that this year, we should fill used tights with human hair to keep the grape-bud-munching deer at bay. Following last year’s catastrophe, when the deer ate the buds as soon as they appeared, we were ready to try anything. Except that now I crick my neck doing a double take every time I look at the vines with the narcoleptic, overweight hamsters bobbing in the breeze. I think I preferred the deer!

Health benefits of broccoli

Broccoli contains glucoraphanin , a compound that converts into a potent antioxidant called sulforaphane during digestion. It also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevent oxidative stress and cellular damage in your eyes. Broccoli also contains bioactive compounds that reduce both inflammation and insulin resistance in the body. It is rich in fibre and probiotics, both of which contribute to digestive and gut health. It is also an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A and C as well as folate.

Recipe for pasta with broccoli sauce (serves 4)

  • 8-10 broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 anchovies
  • 6 black olives, stoned and chopped
  • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 50ml cream
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Cook the broccoli in salted water until ‘al dente’ and then chop into smaller pieces. Then cook the pasta in the broccoli water. Gently fry the chopped shallots in olive oil until transparent, and add the broccoli and garlic. Add the anchovies and olives and continue to fry for a few minutes. Season to taste, add the cream, stirring well and bring to a simmer. Add the sauce to the pasta. Grate the parmesan cheese over the top just before serving.


  • kristenann

    Oh my goodness this sounds SO good! Your thermal cure sounds lovely despite the ‘ray of sunshine” :0). Hope you are having a delightful spring!

  • KJ

    With a couple of alternatives, I think I can make something like this for M. I love broccoli and he’ll eat it if I have a sauce with which to ‘enhance’ it. I cannot give him the garlic or the shallots, and I have been known to take a bus to get as far away from anchovies as possible. I still may make this up for me, though, sans anchovies, of course. It looks tasty.

    I sat down to send you a note, tonight, but, as it is late, I will leave that task for tomorrow. A bit of humor: April began the same as the preceding months, so there was no surprise, although the treat the gods sent was different. I have to admire their ability to diversify their fun. March went out like a lion, up here. How about in your neck of the woods?

    • The Healthy Epicurean

      Hi KJ, as you saw I’m stIll ‘suffering’ the thermal cure until Tuesday. I have been meaning to email you, but catching up with everything else got in the way! I am intrigued as to what the gods of April had in store for you?! I hope it wasn’t too bad…

  • KJ

    Maybe I should ‘take the cure,’ as well. It doesn’t sound unpleasant at all. I’ll save the update until you are back on home turf and I sincerely hope the cure is doing the trick for you.

Leave a Reply