Author Notes: Broccoli never had it so good. Or cauliflower, which you can use instead. Anchovies, capers, olives, pistachios, and chile provide exoticism and zip.
From "Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way" by Oretta Zanini De Vita and Maureen B. Fant (W. W. Norton, 2013), p. 143 - Maureen Fant
Serves 4 to 6
For the condimento:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and blotted dry
- 2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed free of all salt
- 3 ounces black olives, pitted, preferably Gaeta or taggiasche
- 1 1/2 ounce shelled unsalted pistachios
- 6 tablespoons very fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small piece dried chili, about an inch long
- About 2 pounds broccoli or cauliflower or one of their relatives, trimmed and cut into florets
To make the dish:
- 1 pound pasta, busiata, orecchiette, or other short shape
- 6 rounded tablespoons pecorino Romano (on the young side)
- Put 5 quarts of water on to boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.
- Chop coarsely together by hand the garlic, anchovy fillets, capers, olives, and pistachios. Heat the oil gently in a skillet that will be large enough to hold the pasta later. Add the chili and discard when it begins to color. Add the garlic mixture to the pan and sauté gently in the oil until the ingredients just begin to turn gold, about 2 minutes.
- When the water boils, add 3 tablespoons kosher salt, then add the vegetables and boil until they can be pierced easily with a fork, about 5 to 7 minutes. The vegetables should be cooked but al dente, not mushy.
- Lift the cooked vegetable out of the pot with a slotted spoon or spider strainer right into the skillet, leaving the water in the pot (where you’ll cook the pasta). Taste for salt (with the anchovies, olives, and capers you will probably not need any at all), and let the flavors blend for a couple of minutes over low heat.
- Meanwhile, bring the water back to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
- When the pasta is al dente, lift it out of the water with a handheld colander or spider strainer and transfer it, rather wet, to the skillet. Mix well over low heat for about 30 seconds, sprinkle with the cheese, and mix again. Transfer to a warm serving dish or serve directly from the skillet. Serve immediately.
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