Pasta with longer-cooked broccoli – enthusiastic kitchen

For several years I have worked up the courage to tell you about this dish. Why courage, you might ask? What’s bold about the timeless combination of broccoli and pasta, Deb? It’s cooking time. This broccoli is not al dente. It doesn’t retain “a crunch,” “remains a little bite,” or retains the rich green hue it came into the pan with. And, even bolder, it doesn’t want to. This broccoli employs a philosophy of vegetable cook times that’s quite polarized from our present moment, when the minutes we spend walking veggies by the fire have dropped to the point where some of us even advocate cauliflower, asparagus, and even eating broccoli raw. [Or, in a twist on the words of a steak cooking chart I once saw on the wall of a restaurant in Texas: A good farmer could still save the vegetable.]

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But there’s a time and a place for all vegetable cooking, and this one really made me fall in love with what happens when broccoli is cooked until it starts to melt. Crucially, this isn’t the boring, soggy, cooked to death broccoli nightmare of a kid’s cafeteria or dinner at Grandma’s. [Justice for grandmothers, always, however, for feeding us ingrates anyway.] This is silkier, more braised, and has an elusive vegetal sweetness, a hint of vegetable confit that only comes with the luxury of the boisterous.

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Which is funny, because it’s all included in the service of a pasta-and-broccoli meal that’s actually perfect for weeknights — a one-pan meal. It takes a side of an Apulian dish usually made with orecchiette and broccoli rabe (orecchiette con cime di rapa). The easiest way to prepare it is to cook the veggies and pasta together and season it at the end with olive oil, garlic, cheese and spices like we do with this Garlic Broccoli Pasta. But this differs in two respects. First, less splitting regular (Calabrese) broccoli is traded for broccoli crab. The broccoli is first sautéed in a hearty drizzle of olive oil and plenty of flavors – garlic, lemon zest, pepper and anchovies, which are wonderful here even if you think you don’t like them. This step ensures that the next time we add both the dried noodles and water and finish cooking them together, the finished veggies will taste not just cooked, but complex and flavorful. I can’t wait for you to find out how good it is.

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Until now

6 months ago: Corn Butter Farro
1 year ago: Crispy cabbage and cauliflower salad
2 years ago: Rigatoni alla vodka
3 years ago: Perfect Vegetable Lasagna
4 years ago: Bodega style egg and cheese sandwich and chocolate scoop cake
5 years ago: Slow roasted sweet potatoes and Korean braised ribs
6 years ago: Tiramisu in small amounts
7 years ago: Miso Black Sesame Caramel Corn and Hot and Sour Soup
8 years ago: Oven Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic and Pecan Sticky Buns
9 years ago: Chocolate hazelnut Linzer hearts and chocolate peanut butter cheesecake
10 years ago: Italian stuffed cabbage
11 years ago: Lasagne Bolognese
12 years ago: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
13 years ago: Best cocoa brownies and chana masala
14 years ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes and Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Coleslaw
15 years ago: Pasta dough with seven egg yolks and the best chocolate pudding
16 years ago: For radiant, beguiling breads

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Pasta with longer cooked broccoli

  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more at the end
  • 5 thinly sliced ​​garlic cloves
  • 2 anchovies, roughly chopped (optional, see note)
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Glass of white wine (optional)
  • 3 cups of room temperature water
  • 8 ounces dried pasta such as fusilli corti or gemelli
  • Finish with grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (see note)
Separate the broccoli “treetops” from the stalks. Cut or break the ends into 3/4-inch florets. Peel the gnarled stalks and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

In a large, deep skillet or saucepan, combine olive oil and garlic, then turn heat to medium-high. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. Add the anchovies, if using, lemon zest and pepper flakes and cook an additional 2 minutes, using a spoon or spatula to break the anchovies into smaller pieces. If using, add a sip of wine and cook until it disappears. Add the broccoli and stalks, kosher salt, and plenty of black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes; The broccoli will darken. Add the dried pasta and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan and cook for 12 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Lift the lid and stir a few times while the pasta cooks, just to make sure it cooks evenly. Remove the pot from the stove and let it rest with the lid on for 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and taste for spices, adding more salt if needed. Finish with lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, additional black pepper, and grated parmesan. Spoon onto plates and serve with more Parmesan.


  • Of course, you don’t have to use anchovies if you don’t want to. For a similar, but not exactly the same salty addition, substitute 1 to 2 tablespoons drained capers for the anchovies. If you don’t like capers either, that’s fine. Just don’t add any.
  • If you want to keep this dairy-free, you can replace the parmesan with breadcrumbs lightly toasted in olive oil and seasoned.
  • Some pasta — and people (sorry!) — are thirstier than others, and you may find that you need an extra splash or two of pasta water to keep the gravy dish going.
  • I’m using a pasta shape here called Fusilli Corti, which I’m really excited about getting a special shoutout in Eater last fall.
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