A simple delicious vegetarian recipe for Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce – full of flavor and nutrients!
We rise by lifting others. ― R. Ingersoll
After taking a week-long cooking class in Italy, a friend brought back this traditional Tuscan recipe with him and made it for his wife. Truth be told, when she first described it, how the broccoli was cooked down and melted into a sauce, I had some reservations. The thought of mushy broccoli seemed really off-putting, but as she continued describing how luscious and creamy the broccoli sauce actually became, the way the orecchiette pasta cradled it so perfectly, my interest was piqued.
So this became our dinner last night, and I have to say, it was delicious! And a whole lot of broccoli went into this!
I used a whole 12 ounce bag of broccoli florets, cut into smaller pieces and then steamed until tender.
Into a pan they went, along with garlic, olive oil and stock, until they fell apart and cooked down into a sauce. Parmesan or pecorino gives this a creamy texture and depth of flavor. Some recipes also call for a few anchovies for added depth. Up to you.
Orecchiette pasta holds the broccoli sauce like a little scoop.
Full of great broccoli nutrients and flavor, Orecchiette with Broccoli Sauce should be on your next menu plan!
Here’s another Orecchiette pasta recipe you may like.
Here’s another very simple Broccoli Recipe you may like!
Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce
Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Sauce – a simple vegetarian pasta dish hailing from Tuscany that is easy to make, healthy and oh so delicious!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: vegetarian main
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Italian
- 12 ounces broccoli florets- cut or broken into very small florets about equal size
- 8 ounces short pasta- orecchiette pasta, penne, rigatoni, etc
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves- rough chopped
- generous pinch chili flakes
- generous pinch salt and pepper
- 1-2 anchovy, chopped (optional)
- 2 cups veggie or chicken broth
- ½ cup- 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino -start light, add more to taste
- Garnish options- lemon zest, fresh basil ribbons, toasted pine nuts, toasted bread crumbs, truffle oil or kalamata olives- all optional.
Steam small broccoli florets until very tender ( easily pierced with a fork) and set aside.
Cook pasta according to directions, and save some hot pasta water when you drain.
In a large pan, saute the garlic and chili flakes in the olive oil, over medium heat until fragrant and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Add the steamed broccoli, optional anchovy, salt, pepper and broth. Bring to a gentle simmer and start breaking apart the broccoli with a metal spatula into tiny pieces. You want the broccoli to basically melt down into a “sauce”. Continue simmering gently, on low heat until half of the liquid evaporates and it becomes the consisancy of a thick sauce, about 10-15 minutes. It won’t be smooth-just broken down and tender. Stir in the parmesan just a little at a time. Only adding enough to taste. If it gets too thick, add a little pasta water.
Once the cheese is melted and incorporated, add the pasta. Toss well. Add more pasta water if you want it a little more saucy. Taste for salt, adding more along with pepper and the chili flakes.
Divide among bowls and top with any of the garnishes you like. Lemon zest adds a nice brightness, which I highly recommend. A drizzle of truffle oil elevates.
Sometimes I’ll halve the pasta ( if cooking for two) and make this with the same amount of broccoli sauce, boosting the broccoli part. Just sayin’.;)
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