Broccoli pasta – fractals and spirals!

We are currently a few days into the Cambridge Science Festival 2014. The festival runs for two weeks and there are dozens of free events for all ages. We love it! And although Kipper’s presence means that we no longer attend any of the ‘grown up’ lectures, shows or performances, she does give us an excuse to do many of the ‘all ages’ and ‘under 5s’ events that we wouldn’t otherwise have had a go at. And they’re typically very fun, and quite educational too.

So, since Spring is in the air, we headed to the Botanic Gardens to do The Plant Pattern Hunt. Kipper was provided with a backpack containing a map, binoculars, pencils and paper, among other things. There were five or six different patterns to locate, and in each place there was a carved stool and crayons so you could take a rubbing of the pattern. We found three of them before we had to give up and have lunch. They were spirals (in succulents), spots and stripes (in Cactuses), and fractals (in ferns.) We also had a fun time in the tropical rainforest glasshouse, and marvelled at the wonderful orchids on display as part of their orchid festival, which is also running at the moment.

Having learned all about spirals and fractals, and how they are all around us, it seemed only right to attempt a dinner that would incorporate them! Pasta spirals were an easy choice, but it took longer to think of a suitable fractal. I would have liked to use romanesco, which is both a spiral and a fractal, but sadly it isn’t in season. So, instead we used broccoli. Kipper was interested to see how each floret was like a mini broccoli, and each sub-floret was like a mini floret, which was like a mini broccoli etc. Broccoli pasta – science education in action!

This broccoli pasta recipe only has a few ingredients, and it pretty quick to prepare. It is also astonishingly tasty! This amount fed two adults and a small person.

Broccoli pasta - fractals and spirals!

Broccoli pasta – fractals and spirals!

Broccoli pasta - fractals and spirals!
Serves 2
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
555 calories
87 g
0 g
17 g
20 g
2 g
511 g
171 g
12 g
0 g
13 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 555
Calories from Fat 147
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 171mg
Total Carbohydrates 87g
Dietary Fiber 12g
Sugars 12g
Protein 20g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 medium onions
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 medium broccoli - approx. 325g
  4. 2 tbsp black olive tapenade
  5. 150g pasta spirals
  1. Peel and slice the onions. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and cook the sliced onions, stirring occasionally for around 15 minutes, until soft and browned.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into small/medium florets. Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Add the broccoli to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the pasta and broccoli.
  5. Stir the tapenade into the onions, then mix in the broccoli - you can mix everything together, including the pasta, if you prefer. Otherwise, serve the pasta topped with the broccoli mixture.

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  1. Pingback:Romanesco with rosemary garlic crumbs Family-Friends-Food

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