Pasta with broccoli was a favorite in my house growing up, and remains to be a favorite for my children now. I posted the recipe for the original Pasta with Broccoli a little while ago, but I had recently seen many Italian food bloggers sharing a similar recipe with a broccoli crema – cream. I was surprised to find out that this luxe looking “cream” was really just overcooked broccoli purred with some olive oil!
When I was working on the recipe that taste from the broccoli and the olive oil came through, but it felt like it wasn’t finished without a bit of texture. I sautéed breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in some extra virgin olive oil and it gave the dish the crunch it really needed. I hope you try this spin on the classic – also not a bad way to hide all that broccoli from your kids!
Pasta with Broccoli
- 1 lb spaghetti rigati (or other long pasta)
- 12 oz broccoli florets (prewashed and bagged, or from 1 large head of broccoli)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
For the Pasta
For the Toasted Breadcrumbs:
- Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook the pasta and broccoli. Salt generously.
- When the water is boiling, add the broccoli and cook it until it almost seems overdone – about 10 minutes. Remove the broccoli using a fine mesh sieve and set aside, without turning off the heat.
- Allow the water from the broccoli to return a boil and cook the spaghetti in it.
- While the pasta cooks, add the broccoli to a blender with one teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and blend until completely smooth. Add the crema to a large frying pan. When the spaghetti has been cooking for 7-8 minutes, remove it from the pot and add it to the crema and cook over low heat. Add a ladleful of pasta water (about 1/2 cup) and toss with the pasta. When the water has absorbed, test the spaghetti to ensure it is done to your liking. For a softer texture, add another 1/2 cup of pasta water and cook until absorbed, tossing frequently.
- Meanwhile, add olive oil, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese to a small saucepan or frying pan. Toss the ingredients together over low heat for just about 2-3 minutes, until toasted.
- Plate pasta and sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs on top. Enjoy immediately.