This is my method for making spaghetti with broccoli garlic and oil so that the broccoli isn't cooking to hell. Its basically spaghetti aglio e olio but with the addition of broccoli. Aglio e olio is a great template for adding vegetables to it. Broccoli is one of the best. This is one of my favorite pasta's right now. Tune in to find out how I make it.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 2-3)
1/2lb of dried Spaghetti
3-4 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/4 Cup of Olive Oil (or more as needed)
1 1/2 Lbs of Broccoli plus broccoli stems
Red Pepper flakes (To taste)
Starchy Pasta Water
Optional Garnish of Pecorino Romano Cheese
If serving a full pound of spaghetti, just add a little more broccoli and use a very large pan or potentially two pans to get a good sear of the large batch of broccoli. You’ll likely need more oil as well.
In a smaller pot, fill it up with water and get it on the stove and bring to a boil. By the time that takes to boil, you will have had enough time to prepare the broccoli and garlic
Next, cut the broccoli florets off and work them down to a good “bite-size”. Large ones may have to be cut into 1/3’s or 1/4’s. If there is a stalk attached, use it. Just trim off the fibrous outer layer and then cut into planks, then into julienne strips. Cut in half to create bite-sized pieces.
Next, slice the garlic thinly.
By now the water should be boiling. Salt it, lighter than you would a big pot of water. Then drop the pasta. If you want to be precise about it, you can time this process on your phone. My spaghetti cooks to al dente in 10 minutes, so I set a timer for 8:30 minutes. Next, I get my largest pan on the stove on medium-high heat and let that heat up for about 2 minutes, making sure not to overheat the pan. When the timer is at 5-6 minutes, add a little oil to the pan, it should heat up instantly, then add the broccoli right away. Try to get color on the broccoli if you can to develop flavor. Let it sit in the pan, don’t touch it. Add more oil if needed. Season it lightly with salt. When the timer says 4-5 minutes, add a little more oil if needed, the garlic and the red pepper flake. Continue cooking on high heat, adjusting the heat as necessary, until the broccoli is still crisp (adding the pasta water will finish cooking it), and the garlic is browned and everything smells delicious. At this point, the timer should be around 2 minutes. Turn the heat off on the broccoli pan and let the oil cool before adding the pasta water. When the timer gets to under 1 minute, start to taste test the pasta for doneness. When it's just under Al Dente, add the pasta straight to pan with the broccoli, add a few ladles of the pasta water and begin to stir and agitate the pasta, using that tossing and agitation to emulsify the oil and the starchy water to help form a sauce that is creamier and less oily. Turn the heat back on now. The pasta will continue to absorb the sauce so you may need to add more oil and pasta water as needed but that is up to you as you are cooking this. There is no right or wrong, whatever you see happening will require adjustments by you at that moment.
Once the pasta is al dente and the sauce is emulsified, serve in bowls immediately. If you like it with cheese, use pecorino Romano.
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