I have a love hate relationship with brocolli that is very similiar to my opininion about zucchini. Namely, both vegetables are fairly plain tasting and need to be manipulated thoroughly to be enjoyed optimally. Our standard way of consuming broccoli is to do a quick parboil and then toss with plain breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, red pepper flake, garlic, and lots of extra virgin olive oil. Thereafter, we bake at a high temperate for about 20 minutes. The result is a great side dish with lots of flavor and yummy crystallized breadcrumb and garlic. We also make broccoli bean soup which is another favorite.
However, we realize we can’t keep making the same brocolli dish ad infinitum so we recently experimented with a linguine and brocolli recipe (similar to linguine with cauliflower) that we think elevates the humdrum ingredient to another level. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 large bundle of brocolli (if you find brocolli that is grown near your home and via organic farming practices, it will taste better)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, diced into narrow strips
- 1-2 teaspoons of red pepper flake (depending on your preference for spice)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 pound of thin linguine (you can substitute with Cavatelli)
- 1/2 cup of plain breadcrumb
- 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water (save it when draining your pasta)
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Finely chopped parsley
Begin by filling a large pot with fresh water. Bring to a boil and add a bit of salt. Wash the broccoli well and begin removing the florets, cutting into 1-1.5 inch pieces. Remove the outer skin from the stems and cut into the same 1-1.5 inch pieces (this part of the broccoli is wonderful and should not be discarded). Place the clean and chopped broccoli parts into the boiling water. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the broccoli begins to loose some of it’s tough texture.
In a large fry pan, add extra virgin olive oil, garlic, Kosher salt, freshly ground black peppers, and red pepper flakes and set the flame to low-medium. Here you want to slowly cook down the garlic so it releases it’s flavor but doesn’t burn. Remove the broccoli to a large glass bowl and add the linguine to the same pot. Move the broccoli to the fry pan with the garlic and oil and saute for 8-10 minutes (this is a key step and you want to make sure the ingredients are well incorporated), adding a bit more extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drain the pasta and add to the fry and toss well, add a bit of the starchy water and mix. Add the breadcrumb and mix and finish with a bit more extra virgin olive oil and parsley. Grate the Parmigiano Reggiano over the pasta and serve.