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Melted Broccoli Pasta

October 10, 2020
from Epicurious


  • Kosher salt
  • 2 heads (about 1 pound, or 454g, total) broccoli, cut into bitesize florets
  • 12 ounces (340 g) whole-wheat penne pasta, or other short tubular pasta
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup (54 g) panko
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • ¼ cup (36 g) capers, chopped if large (rinsed well if salt-packed)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to a large bowl. Use a potato masher to break up the broccoli.
  2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions for al dente, about 9 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the bread crumbs. Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil in a large, high-sided sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and sauté until the crumbs are golden brown and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil into the pan. Add the anchovies and sauté until they disintegrate, about 1 minute. Add the capers, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute, and remove from the heat.
  5. When the pasta is ready, reserve 1½ cups (360 ml) of pasta water with a measuring cup, then drain the pasta. Add the broccoli and reserved pasta water to the pan and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, using a wooden spoon to break the florets into small pieces as they become more tender, until the water is reduced by about half and you’ve been able to break apart enough florets that you’re left with a very chunky mixture, 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Add the pasta to the pan. Cook, tossing and stirring, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add half the toasted bread crumbs, and toss again to combine. Serve garnished with the remaining toasted bread crumbs and top with Parmesan cheese.

From → pasta, Recipes

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