This is a super easy but super tasty pasta dinner, with amazing tastes and textures.
I often find myself cycling through two or three of the same old tomato-based ways of serving pasta, mostly because of fussy eaters, but it turns out that broccoli is one of the few green vegetables that is universally accepted by my hoard. One of my favourite pasta dishes is orecchiette with cime di rapa (rapini… turnip tops… broccoli rabe… so many names!) but it’s not popular with my kids and cime di rapa only appears in the markets here randomly, so when I planned to cook it this week and there wasn’t any of that peppery leaf to be found, I opted to use broccoli instead. It was a winner!
Preparation: 15 minutes active time
1/2 cup olive oil
2 – 3 tsp chilli flakes
4 – 5 large cloves garlic
1 head broccoli
500g (about 1 lb) orecchiette
In a small saucepan, add the olive oil and chilli flakes. Finely slice the garlic cloves and add them to the oil, then heat on low until the oil starts to bubble. Remove from heat and set aside – I do this ahead of time and leave it for at least an hour or so, to allow the oil to absorb plenty of flavour.
Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil and cook the orecchiette according to the packet directions. Add the broccoli to the pot about two minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Drain the pasta and broccoli and return it to the pot. Pour the oil in and toss to coat everything.
Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan, if desired.