Monday, January 29

Broccoli Marries Pasta

The final featured vegetable of the cruciferous make-over (see Brussels Sprouts on Botox and Cauliflower Gets New Clothes) is broccoli. Otherwise known as the vegetable that our mothers made us eat so we could have dessert. That is until you’ve tried broccoli made by Jeff’s mother. I had the good fortune of having three wonderful role models for cooking: my grandmother, my mother, and my mother-in-law. Jeff’s mom, Dorothy, (also Italian and from RI) is an outstanding cook -- as it has been said: the woman could make sawdust taste good.

I first ate her lemony broccoli pasta with breadcrumbs when Jeff and I were dating (Jeff says it helped to convince me to marry him). This is an adaptation of her recipe. She’s really excited about this blog. She actually told Jeff that I have become her second favorite, right after Giada from the Food Network. If you knew my mother-in-law, then you would understand that that is a HUGE compliment!

Although I think fresh pasta is always superior to dried, it’s not always practical; I am actually all out myself, unless Jeff at the delicious C for Cooking would like to mail me some (see his 26 Jan. 07 post). But I do think dried pasta is fine for this recipe; I like Barilla. Just be sure to keep both the pasta and the broccoli al dente.

My husband just added, “Tell them not to skimp on the Grana Padano!" So, there you have it.


Print recipe only here.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cups broccoli florets
About 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
A little bit of lemon zest
8 oz pasta (I used cellentani; I also like penne or rigatoni, 'cause the breadcrumbs adhere well to them)
½ cup walnuts, toasted
½ cup breadcrumbs, toasted
A few shakes of crushed red pepper
A few shakes of salt
A non-skimpy portion of good grated Grana Padano
A handful of chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Some good olive oil to drizzle on top

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Layer walnuts on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, until slightly golden and aromatic.

To toast the breadcrumbs, place in a skillet on the stovetop; slightly shake until golden and evenly toasty, just a couple of minutes. Remove from pan, so that the heat won’t continue to toast them.

Cook pasta in salted water according to directions.

Add olive oil to a skillet. Over medium heat, sauté garlic and shallots until slightly caramelized. Add the broccoli, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli turns a brilliant green and remains firm to the touch. Add your cooked pasta to the skillet with the broccoli mixture, and toss in the toasted walnuts and breadcrumbs.

Plate the pasta; sprinkle with a healthy dose of grated Grana Padano cheese and some fresh parsley. Finish it off with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
Makes 4 servings.


Melting Wok said...

Susan, with all your few recent scrumptious posts using panko, you got me hooked into using them..haha, I'm preparing some super bowl party foods using the panko for some lollipop chickens, and to stumbled upon this refreshing salad, I bet I'll woe the guests in no time, thanks :) Btw, those broccoli looks like broccolini ? hehe Cheers !:)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Melting Wok-
Thanks! I LOVE broccolini, but they are not out yet. I will definitely be posting on them when they appear at my farmers' market.

wheresmymind said...

Hey...sometimes we don't have the extra 1 1/2 hours to make the fresh stuff :) This looks TOO good!

Scribbit said...

I'm going to have to buy a new printer cartridge if you keep posting such yummy stuff--I'm printing them off right and left. How can broccoli look so good at 9:13 in the morning?

Patricia Scarpin said...


If I wore a hat, it would be off to this recipe - fantastic!

I love broccoli and pasta and walnuts. And cheese. Let's just say I love everything you used for this pasta. :D

I'm not familiar with the cheese you listed - if I don't find it, I'll use parmesan. This won't stop me from making this delicious dish! :D

Anonymous said...

There seems to be quite a lot of good cooking going on with your various family memhers. This looks delicious and I love how you specify a "non-skimpy portion" of the cheese.

Anonymous said...

I am not a big fan of brocolli,
but i would eat this! I love the breadcrumbs on the pasta deal.

Paul Russo said...

scrumptious recipe;love pasta; on plating I would try a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil from "cook and Ladder"

Brilynn said...

You've sold me on this dish! I suspect you could smother it in cheese sauce and it would be good too...

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hi Susan, I just realized you're a baby blogger like me.Reading your blog has plastered a smile on my face, we have a lot in common,culture -wise, where food and eating is always the highlight of every event.Ciao! will visit again soon!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

It would not be beyond me to eat said broccoli at 9:13 in the morning.

Grana Padano is an Italian semi-hard grating cheese that Jeff loves. You should be able to find it, but Parmesan is perfectly fine. Thanks!

And I still haven't gotten to my 98-year-old grandmother yet!

Thanks! Glad to hear it!

Don't worry, I do! Thanks!

Unfortunately, the orange cheese part of the story didn't make the final cut. Perhaps in a future post. :)

Isn't this fun? I'll be back to see you soon!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Broccoli and pasta and any kind of red pepper flakes really do it for me!

Anonymous said...

Just found your beautiful site. Love your writing and your cooking.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

So glad to hear it. Some people don't like the heat, but I think it adds a nice dimension.

Thank you so much. I'm glad you found me.

Jeanne said...

What a happy, happy combination this is! I adore broccoli in any event - this sounds like a fab use for it! I usually make a creamy broccoli and Gorgonzola pasta, but this sounds lighter. I definitely want to try it.

Linda said...

this looks delicious - i would have never thought to put walnuts in my pasta, even though i put it on my pizza. thanks for the enlightening post!

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

This is one of my favorite dishes--I just adore broccoli and toss it with pasta and cheese often. (I also love to just steam it, squeeze a lemon over it and nibble it for a snack.) I've never added walnuts, however, so I'll have to include some next time I make broccoli and pasta.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Thanks! Creamy broccoli and gorgonzola sounds decadent!

You're welcome. I've never tried a nut I didn't like.:)

The toasted walnuts really perk up this dish.

Gattina Cheung said...

Hi Susan, thanks for adding in my blog :D Your blog is fantastic! I like your style of cooking, with so many attractive photos!
Agree with you about good breadcrumbs, they just make such a huge difference! (I got mine from an excellent Italian bakery) Your pasta is really wonderful!!!

Susan from Food Blogga said...


Your blog is so fabulous, everyone should know about it!

And oh, how I miss those excellent Italian bakeries; they are plentiful on the East Coast but not on the West.

Thanks for the compliments!

sher said...

Oh my!! That is the most beautiful picture. I love the green against the pasta, with it's little jacket of breadcrumbs! :):)

Melting Wok said...

yes yes, can't wait for it, will you be breading them ? :)

Stella said...

Hi Susan!
thanks for popping in! You've got a wonderful blog & your recipes look so appetising:)
this one especially makes my mouth water, i've always loved pasta with breadcrumbs:)

Jade said...

That sounds really, really good! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Great blog! Any chance you'll do a post on making fresh pasta? It is something I've been meaning to do for some time, but I just haven't gotten up the nerve yet.

Laura Rebecca said...

Oh my God, this looks so, so good. I've been on the hunt for a good broccoli rabe recipe -- thanks so much for this one!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I appreciate that!

Thanks so much! I will make fresh pasta most likely, but not sure when.

Laura Rebecca-
Broccoli rabe is one of my favorite vegetables! It would be great in this dish.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully my kids love broccoli. They would probably go crazy for this meal! Looks delicious.

Miriam said...

We made this tonight post soccer game and sat on the floor of the kitchen to eat it - to lazy to set the table. We didn't have the right cheese, but parm. did just fine. It was one of the best meals I've eaten in ages. The kids had already eaten so they didn't help, but my eldest was sneaking bites.

Unknown said...

I finally got round to making this recipe, and I really enjoyed it! Just one thing though - the broccoli ended up being super lemony, really lovely, but none of that got through to the pasta. In fact I've even made this again without adding pasta or breadcrumbs, just as a side! Any suggestions for helping the pasta get lemony too, or is it just not meant to be that way?

Amy I. said...

I'm a bit late commenting here, but this looks like my ideal meal, all my favorite ingredients! I've bumped it to the top of my to-do list. Thanks for sharing!