One of the most memorable dishes of my recent trip to Abruzzo was served family-style at a dinner at the Hermes farm. We liberally splashed the pasta with the exclusive olive oil blend we’d just created.
- 12 ounces very small broccoli florets
- 8 ounces orecchiette or other short pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 or 2 oil-packed anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 4 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Steam the broccoli florets until they are very tender; set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain, but save a cup of the hot pasta water.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, sauté the garlic and hot red pepper flakes over medium heat until fragrant and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the steamed broccoli, anchovy, if using, and the salt, pepper, broth, and lemon zest. Bring to a gentle simmer. Start breaking down the broccoli with metal spoon or spatula into tiny pieces. (You basically want the broccoli to “melt.”) Continue to simmer over low heat until the liquid is reduced by half and the mixture has the consistency of a thick sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted. Add the pasta and toss well. Add a spoonful or two of the reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve in warmed shallow bowls with additional olive oil for drizzling.
Serves 4—Recipe adapted from feastingathome.com