We made a change in the recipe tonight.  I know, I know…  we’re supposed to follow the recipe exactly, but Victor made homemade pasta yesterday for his niece’s birthday, so we had the leftover already made.  And I’ll take leftover homemade pasta over any packaged pasta.  Any time.

This is a definite winner and proves the beauty of following simple recipes.  If I had been in the kitchen, I would have looked at the recipe and then cleaned out the vegetable bin. And I’m sure it would have been a good pasta dish, but it wouldn’t have had the crisp clean flavors this had.  And two little chiles added just the right amount of heat.  Not too much – just enough.

Another thing is the recipe calls for cooking the broccoli for 7 minutes.  That is a really long time.  Victor pulled it out of the water after 5 minutes and it was getting close to being overcooked for our way of thinking.  I definitely believe you don’t want crunchy broccoli, but 7 minutes would probably result in mush.  Use your own judgment.

The recipe is written for the strascinati pasta.

Strascinati ai Broccoli


  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4  pounds broccoli
  • 1 pound strascinati or other short pasta
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 dried red arbol chiles, or red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano, Caciocavallo, or ricotta salata cheese for serving (optional)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut broccoli into 1-inch florets; peel stems. Cut stems into 1-inch pieces, then cut pieces in half or quarters lengthwise, depending on size.

Cook broccoli florets and stems in the boiling water until tender, about 7 minutes. Reserving water, transfer broccoli to a colander to drain, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

Return water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, combine oil, parsley, chiles and garlic in a small skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 1½ teaspoons salt.

When pasta is al dente, drain pasta and return to pot. Immediately add broccoli and oil mixture. Heat over medium heat, stirring to combine, for 30 seconds; adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with cheese if desired.

We’re getting close to the end of the pasta issue, but I have a feeling we will be continuing this for a while.