I make this pasta quite often, as it is tasty, healthy and quick to make. It is also convenient because the only fresh ingredient needed is broccoli, which keeps quite well in the refrigerator. It doesn’t take longer to make this than it takes to cook the pasta. Since the ‘sauce’ contains anchovies, Italians will generally not serve this with parmigiano as that would overpower the taste of the anchovies. If you do like to eat this with parmigiano or pecorino (which is also good) and you want to be authentic, leave out the anchovies. Or just make sure that no Italians are watching 😉 I like to make this with orechiette, but any short pasta (including penne) will do.
If this recipe seems awfully familiar to you, that may be because it is basically this recipe without the mussels.
For 2 servings
450 grams (1 pound) broccoli
150-200 grams (1/3-1/2 pound) orecchiette or other short pasta
3 anchovies fillets, minced
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
red chile pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley (optional)
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and pasta as soon as the water boils. Cook the pasta for the time indicated on the package. You need to add the broccoli about 8 minutes before the pasta is cooked, so you may need to prepare the broccoli before adding the pasta if your pasta needs less than 13 minutes or so (like my orechiette).
Cut the broccoli florets into 3 cm (1 inch) pieces. Peel the trunk and slice it up as well. Rinse under cold water.
Add the broccoli to the pasta for the last 8 minutes.
While the broccoli is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic, minced anchovies and red chile pepper. Sauté until the garlic is golden (not brown!) and the anchovies have melted. Lower the heat to keep this warm until the pasta and broccoli are ready.
Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the flavored olive oil. Toss to mix.
Serve on warm plates, garnished with parsley if you like. The parsley is not really required, but it does freshen things up so use it if you have fresh parsley available.