Author Notes: Spaghetti and Broccoli is simple, delicious comfort food. A family favorite from one generation to the next; growing up I had it often, and always, always for special occasions. Adapted from my Grandma Angelo, who made her pasta cheesy and mild, I tweaked it up with a little lemon zest and a lot of red hot pepper flakes; now and then I slice and saute fresh hot pepper with the onions.
PS - in tribute to my grandmother this pasta was served after her funeral; it definitely helped to make the party a true Celebration of her Life!
Serves a crowd
- 1 lb. dry spaghetti
- 1 lb. broccoli flowers and stems
- 8 (at least) large garlic cloves, minced…divided in half
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (at least)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil…divided in half
- 1 medium onion, diced (optional a fresh hot pepper, sliced)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt…plus salt for the boiling pasta water
- 1/4 cup pasta water...divided in half
- 1 cup micro-plane grated Pecorino/Parmesan mix
- Extra cheese for individual plates after serving.
- In a small bowl, add half the garlic, lemon zest and red pepper flakes; whisk and reserve for later.
- Place a large heatproof pasta serving bowl in the oven, heated @ 200 degrees.
- Start a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the spaghetti noodles half way. Add the broccoli. Finish cooking until pasta is al dente and broccoli is tender. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
- Meanwhile, in a nonstick pan, heat the first 3 tablespoons of olive oil; add onion (and hot pepper, if using) and saute until soft. Add the last half of the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon salt, stir until the garlic is yellow colored
- Take pan off the heat. Stir in the reserved garlic/red pepper, lemon zest and add 2 tablespoons pasta water.
- Drain spaghetti/broccoli and transfer to the warmed serving bowl. Add the last 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining pasta water, toss to coat. Add the garlic/onion mixture and 1/2 of the grated cheese, toss and combine. Sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese and serve.
- Or at this point you can cover with foil and let sit in oven for up to a half hour, but remember the pasta and broccoli will be cooked a bit more…personally, I like it that way.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spicy Recipe