Penne with Broccoli, Garlic, and Bread Crumbs

Penne with Broccoli, Garlic, and Bread Crumbs
Ingredients
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns
  • 1 pound short, tubular pasta, such as penne, penne rigate, mostaccioli or rigatoni
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄3 cup dried bread crumbs (not too fine)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1⁄2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
Time estimates

Prep time: 20 min  

Cook time: 10 min 

Total time: 30 min  

Directions

1. Trim off any discolored base of the broccoli stems.
2. Slice the stems crosswise about 1⁄8 inch thick, letting the florets fall away as you go, until the whole crown is reduced to bite-size pieces. Include any small, tender leaves.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (a pasta pot with a removable drainer is ideal).
4. Add the broccoli stem pieces and cook 1 minute, then add the florets and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.
5. Remove with a slotted spoon or skimmer and drain.
6. Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta.
7. While the pasta cooks, warm a tablespoon or so of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over low heat.
8. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until the crumbs are golden brown.
9. Add a few more drops of oil during cooking if the crumbs seem too dry.
10. Scrape the crumbs out of the pan and set aside.
11. Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining oil, garlic, and pepper flakes.
12. Cook until fragrant, then stir in the broccoli.
13. Toss to coat with the oil as the broccoli reheats, and taste for seasoning, bearing in mind the salt in the cheese.
14. Remove from the heat if the broccoli is in danger of scorching before the pasta is done.
15. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the broccoli mixture.
16. Cook over high heat for a minute or so to evaporate any water clinging to the pasta, then stir in the bread crumbs and cheese and serve immediately.

Yield

Serves 4

Which beer should I drink with this?

Any.

Variation

For a more pervasive garlic flavor, slice the garlic thinly and brown it slowly in the oil, as in Green Beans with Garlic Oil. Scatter the browned garlic slices on top just before serving.

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From The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook, Copyright © 2002 by Jay Harlow. Used by arrangement with Jay Harlow.

Photo: [puamelia]/Flickr