Makes: About 4 servings
Time: About 40 minutes
Use the same water for the broccoli as you do for the pasta to save cleaning a pot and to make things go a bit faster. Olive oil is not just a cooking medium here but also one of the main flavors. So, in addition to the 1/4 cup used to cook the garlic, I add some to taste at the end, usually a teaspoon or so per serving. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.
About 1 pound broccoli, cauliflower, or broccoli raab, trimmed and cut into pieces
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1 tablespoon chopped garlic, or more to taste
1 pound penne, ziti, or other cut pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Boil the broccoli until it’s fairly tender, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the type (broccoli raab is fastest, cauliflower slowest) and the size of your pieces. Meanwhile, put the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook until it begins to sizzle, about a minute; keep warm.
2. Scoop the broccoli out of the water with a slotted spoon or small strainer and transfer it to the skillet (keep the pot of water boiling). Cook over medium-high heat, stirring and mashing the broccoli, until it is hot and quite soft, adding some of the pasta water as needed to help soften the broccoli.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. When the pasta is just about but not quite done, drain it, reserving about a cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet with the broccoli and a couple of tablespoons of the reserved cooking water; toss with a large spoon until well combined. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, along with some of the pasta water to keep the mixture from drying out. Serve immediately.
Pasta with Greens. Here, if your judgment is good, you can cook the greens along with the pasta; usually you add them to the boiling water during the last minutes of cooking, but the thick stems of kale or collards may take just about as long as the pasta to get tender. Until you’re confident, follow the basic recipe: Use 1 to 1 1/2 pounds spinach, kale, collards, chard, mustard, or other greens instead of the broccoli. If the stems are thick, separate them from the leaves and chop roughly into 1-inch lengths; roughly chop the leaves. Cook the stems or whole greens until tender and proceed with the recipe.
Pasta with Broccoli, Cauliflower, or Broccoli Raab and Sausage. Cut 2 or 3 (about 8 ounces) hot or sweet Italian sausages into thin slices and cook them along with the garlic (and hot pepper flakes to taste if you like) until nicely browned. Proceed with the recipe.