I love this recipe. It is delicious, full of vegetables, and beautiful. It is good freshly made and maybe even better cold out of the fridge the next day. I have a special love for recipes that are good cold out of the fridge the next day.
There is something so simple about this recipe, but it makes so much sense! It is one of those recipes that you come across and think to yourself, why didn’t I come up with that? Make your pasta sauce out of a vegetable you love? We’re suddenly back to the Butternut Squash Carbonara from a few weeks ago. It is such a good idea! In the introduction story for this particular recipe in the cookbook, it said, “It is a great dish to serve people who are typically resistant to green vegetables; after they taste Vincenzo’s creation, you’ll likely find them converted into avid broccoli eaters.”
The recipe comes from Cooking with Italian Grandmothers. It is a interesting cookbook. A food writer spends a year traveling through Italy and finding these grandmothers to teach her to cook their favorite things. My immediate question is, how do I get a gig like that? Such a fun idea. The book is filled with stories and beautiful recipes.
So, I’m about 7ish cookbooks into this year’s goal of cooking from all the cookbooks I own, and so far, this is a great project. I’m making things that I probably wouldn’t otherwise and I’m diving deeper into my collection of cookbooks than I have in the past. Thanks for going on this journey with me!
I made this recipe as is with one exception. I couldn’t fine peperoncinos in my grocery. But, when I researched them online, it was basically a dried red chili, so I substituted a dried chili from my pantry and it was great.
Vincenzo’s Broccoli and Pine nut Pasta
From Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: Recipes and stories from Tuscany to Sicily by Jessica Theroux
- 2 heads broccoli
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 dried peperoncino, finely minced
- 3-4 TB olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 6 oily sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 lb medium-length pasta, such as fusilli or penne
- salt to taste
- Grated parmesan or hard pecorino cheese to garnish
Cut the florets off the broccoli sets, wash them, and steam them with a small amount of salted water for 15 to 20 minutes, or until very soft.
Boil the water for the pasta. Salt water.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and peperoncino in the oil, until the garlic turns a pale golden brown. Add the pine nuts, the sun-dried tomatoes, and the soft broccoli. Stir to combine, then mash the broccoli with the back of a wooden spoon until it takes on a homogeneous consistency. Saute together for a few minutes, then turn off the heat while the pasta cooks.
Cook the pasta to al dente, reserve some cooking water, drain pasta, and add it to the sauté pan. Mix thoroughly, heating briefly to combine. Add a small amount of cooking water if needed. Season to taste and serve right away with a generous grating of cheese.
Photographs by Jessica Yager