This dish was invented one night when I did not want to make the standard shrimp scampi dish. I had broccolini in the fridge but you could easily substitute broccoli rabe. I am familiar with the unwritten rule of Italian cooks that cheese and seafood do not mix but without a sprinkling of cheese, I found the recipe flat.
Use quality ingredients- an olive oil you would use for a salad dressing and good parmigiano reggiano.
Salt- make sure you salt your pasta water, broccolini blanching water, and the finished product. It sounds overboard but with so few ingredients, salt and olive oil are really the two things that tie the dish together. Just taste as you go. If it seems to be missing something you cannot put your finger on, just add a little salt and/or a olive oil and re-taste.
Finished product- Keep in mind that this is not a dish where there is tons of sauce, it certainly will not be dry but it will not have the same amount of sauce as a spaghetti with marinara. —Tony S
Orechietti or another short pasta such as penne rigati
Shrimp (25-35 count)
Broccolini, root ends trimmed
Bulb Garlic, peeled and pressed or finely minced
Bring a separate pan full of salted water to a boil. Drop broccolini in and after it returns to a boil, allow to cook for 2-3 minutes (you still want a little bite to it). Remove broccolini from boiling water and drop in ice water to stop cooking. Pull out of ice water once cool and dry between two kitchen towels or use a big wad of paper towels. Cut broccolini into bite size pieces
Place olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flake in a large skillet or sauté pan. Place pan over low heat and allow garlic to slowly cook until it begins to sizzle and you smell the garlic. NO BROWNING HERE!
Drop pasta in pasta water to cook.
Once garlic is sizzling, turn heat up to high/medium high and add shrimp. Season entire pan with salt to taste. Just as shrimp are about cooked through, add the pieces of broccolini, just to warm them up.
Drain pasta but reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water.
Add the shrimp/garlic/oil/broccolini mixture, pasta, parmigiano, and about ¼ cup of reserved pasta water back into the pasta pot. Season with salt and stir to combine.
If too dry, add a little more olive oil and/or reserved pasta water and stir it in. Taste!
If it tastes flat but is not dry, add a little salt and/or more parmigiano.