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
4 to 6
For the condimento:
oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and blotted dry
salt-packed capers, rinsed free of all salt
black olives, pitted, preferably Gaeta or taggiasche
1 1/2 ounces
shelled unsalted pistachios
very fruity extra-virgin olive oil
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:
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.
Coauthor of "Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way," "Dictionary of Italian Cuisine," and "Women’s Life in Greece and Rome." Author of "Eat like the Romans: the Visitor's Food Guide," Trattorias of Rome, Florence, and Venice," and Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World "Rome." Translator of "Encyclopedia of Pasta" and "Popes, Peasants, and Shepherds: Recipes and Lore from Rome and Lazio." I came to Rome because of my studies of classics and archaeology and stayed for other reasons.