- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, washed, stems discarded, cut into bite-size florets
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 3/4 cup California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
- Freshly ground pepper
Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add a good handful of salt (about 1/4 cup), enough that you can taste it. Set a fine strainer in the sink.
When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli and wait until the water
returns to a boil. Add the pasta and set the timer to the number of minutes
recommended on the box. When the timer rings, drain the penne and broccoli
in the colander, then dump them into a large serving bowl. Add the California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil
and mix well with a wooden spoon so that the pasta is coated and the bits of
broccoli are well distributed throughout. Add the cheese and stir well until you
have a nice, green-speckled sauce. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese, and add
Chef's Note: My mom used to make this yummy, Parmesan-and-broccoli-flecked pasta
a lot when we were growing up because it was a relatively painless way to
get us kids to eat broccoli. And when I went to college, she packed up the
recipe for me as part of a set of family recipes that she thought would be
easy enough for me to make in my new apartment. This was one of the first
dishes I had the courage to cook on my own, and it became a staple of my
But leaving home isn’t so easy. I remember the first time I set out to cook
this in my new life. It wasn’t until I was at the grocery store with recipe in
hand that I realized that I couldn’t actually read it: I never could read my
mom’s handwriting—I’m forever calling her up to ask her to translate her
scrawl. But there I was, first time out, walking up to strangers in the supermarket
asking, “Can you read this?”
These days, my friends have a habit of calling me from the supermarket
at five p.m., looking for a suggestion for dinner. This is the recipe I give them
because it’s completely easy and if it’s five o’clock and you’re still in the
supermarket, you can still be eating by six fifteen (assuming you don’t live
too far away).
Note that the broccoli cooks long enough to turn soft and buttery. When
you work it all together with your wooden spoon—broccoli, olive oil, and
cheese—the broccoli turns into the sauce.
Use a colander with fairly small holes (or a mesh strainer) so that the
broccoli buds don’t escape into the sink when you drain the pasta.
Delicious Memories (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011), by Anna Boiardi and Stephanie Lyness.
Reprinted with permission from Stewart, Tabori & Chang.