Pasta and Broccoli

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite books about food. There’s no actual recipe for it in the book, but the method is described in detail. The author says this works well with cauliflower, too, but we much prefer it with broccoli in our house.

Adapted from An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler.



1 pound or so of broccoli

Olive oil

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound of penne, fusilli or other short pasta

Handful of chopped parsley (optional)

Handful of toasted breadcrumbs (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put a generous amount of salt in it. It should taste like “pleasant seawater.”
  2. Meanwhile, remove the broccoli’s large main stem. Cut the rest into long pieces like batons. You can cut the main stem and cook that, too, if you wish.
  3. Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook for several minutes until a knife easily pierces the thickest part.
  4. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Put 2 cups of the cooked broccoli (or all of it, if you like) into a bowl and smash slightly with a potato masher or spoon. Add the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Meanwhile, bring the water back to a boil and adjust the seasoning. You may need to add more water if it has become too salty.
  7. Cook the pasta. Just before it’s ready, remove a small glass of the now-starchy cooking water.
  8. Drain the pasta and mix with the broccoli, cheese and 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add parsley or breadcrumbs if you like.

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