I have always liked broccoli (which in Italian are referred to as “broccoletti” to differentiate them from the big roman or purple broccoli), even as a child. Then again, I also used to like brussel sprouts, so I guess I was not a fussy child when it came to eating my veggies. Anyhow, this very easy pasta sauce is so tasty that it will be a winner even with the fussiest eaters. It is also a healthy dish as broccoli and pine nuts are very good for you. So, what are you waiting for? Just give it a try!
Ingredients for 4 persons:
3 broccoli florets
2 cloves of garlic, halved
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 handful of pine nuts
1/3 glass milk
1 pinch salt
400 gms short pasta (I used pipette rigate/gomiti rigati)
Pecorino Romano thinly grated to serve
Ground pepper to serve
Clean and wash the broccoli florets and boil them in hot salty water until tender. When ready, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and keep aside. DO NOT discard the water in which you cooked the broccoli florets as you will need it both for the sauce and to cook your pasta in.
Put the halved garlic, pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and sauté for a couple of minutes.
Then add the broccoli florets and mash them well with a wooden spoon or a potato masher.
Add salt, a couple of tablespoons of the broccoli water and the milk.
Cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes creamy.
Put the pot with the broccoli water back on the fire (you might have to add some more water and adjust the salt) and use it to cook your pasta.
Cook the pipette rigate following the steps on How to cook pasta “al dente” in the Techniques page of this site, but drain it 1 minute before it is cooked as it will finish cooking together with the sauce. Put the drained pasta in the frying pan with the broccoli and pinenut sauce and mix well while cooking it on a slow flame for 1 or 2 minutes.
Serve with thinly grated Pecorino Romano and ground pepper on the top.
NOTE: if you have some sauce left over, it also makes a great side dish and it is a good and healthy alternative to the usual potato mash.