Broccoli Pasta 21.01.2009

This is a pasta I make almost once a week. Some people love anchovies in a broccoli pasta and I’m sure they’d be great in this, but as a vegetarian I leave them out and just add tons of olives and parmesan.

The key to turning it from a very nice pasta sauce into a fiendishly addictive one is the croutons.


  • Broccoli – 1 head is usually enough for 2 or 3 people, but 2 is best for more
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 hot red chilli – finely chopped
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley – chopped
  • Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olives – I like to use ligurian olives, preferably around 8 to 10 per person, but that’s because I’m an addict.
  • A slice or two of stale bread – if possible, casalinga from Babka, because you know it’s perfect
  • Penne – I always make too much, so I’ll leave it to you to decide how much to use.
  • Olive oil


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Chop the broccoli into florets and chunks of stalk and, when the water has boiled, throw in with the pasta.

Cut up the stale bread into cubes about 1.5 cm big. You should have about a cup of these. Put about 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan and, when the oil is very hot, put the cubes of bread in. Make sure to stir immediately and often, to make sure the oil is absorbed on every side and to prevent burning. Add a little bit of salt an pepper. Keep stirring until the bread is golden on all sides - know that once it starts to brown it will go dark very quickly and can burn easily. Take them off the heat and, using a slotted spoon, take them out of the pan and put them into a bowl or on some absorbent paper towel.

Chop up the zucchini lengthways into strips about 4 mm long, then turn these on their side and do the same, then chop each of these strips in half across. If you understand that, you're left with rectangular prisms where the height and width are both about 4 mm and the length is half the length of the zucchini. Gah! It's easier done than it is for me to say it.

Put the olives in the frying pan with the oil you used for the croutons and cook for a few seconds, then add the zucchini. Stir for a minute or two over a pretty high heat, then add the garlic and chilli, and a little bit of salt. Keep frying for a few minutes, until the zucchini is nice and golden, but not overly reduced. Take off the heat.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it all, leaving a little bit of the water. Put the pasta and broccoli back in the pot and stir with a touch of oil. The broccoli will be very tender, and will break up quite a lot. Now add the pan of zucchini and olives, and the croutons.

Add the parsley and some pepper and stir through, then serve with some nice parmesan cheese.

File under vegetarian dinner

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Comments on Broccoli Pasta

Virginia Murdoch on 26 January 2009:

Very excellent. I don't think it needs anchovies at all.

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