Sicilian Pasta and Broccoli

This is a simple dish my grandmother made for me when I was a child. Now I make it for my daughter, Xea, and she loves it. As the broccoli takes on a toasty brown color, it develops a delicious nutty flavor that even picky kids will like.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1 cup olive oil, or more if needed

2 large heads broccoli, cut in 1-inch florets (about 6 cups)

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for salting the pasta water

8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 pound penne rigate (Penne rigate is my favorite because the ridges give it more texture.)

1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


  1. Heat the water for your pasta while you prepare the broccoli.
  2. In a shallow, 10-inch saute pot, heat the 1 cup olive oil over medium-high heat (see Cook's Note). Add the broccoli to the oil and season it with salt. Saute the broccoli for about 4 minutes, or until it takes on a toasty color. The broccoli will absorb a lot of the oil, so if you find your pot getting dry, just add a little more oil to it. Throw in the garlic and cook for about another minute, until it's slightly brown. Don't burn the garlic! Take the broccoli off the heat and set it aside.
  3. Prepare the penne according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and toss it in the pot with the broccoli, garlic, and olive oil. If the mixture seems dry, add a little more oil.
  4. Toss in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, stir, and garnish with the parsley.

Cook’s Note

I recommend sauteing the broccoli in a shallow saute pot, rather than in a saute pan. You'll be able to saute the vegetables properly and the pot will be big enough to accommodate the pasta after it and the broccoli are both cooked. If you don't have a saute pot, use a saute pan for the broccoli and combine the cooked pasta and broccoli in a large bowl.

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