There’s an adorable British chap with a cooking TikTok and he often includes his even more adorable nonna in his videos. I discovered him when I was served the below video for broccoli pasta and decided to do my own take on it. Unlike our dear Giuseppe, I’m not vegan, so I use real cheese and plenty of it, but the idea is the same. The biggest takeaway from this video is that bread crumbs, indeed, make nice so be sure to include them.
Start by boiling or steaming broccoli. I steamed mine because I could do it right in the bag. By boiling or steaming, you’ll get the broccoli nice and soft so it breaks down really nicely. In most cases, you want broccoli to be firm, something to really bite down on, but here you want it to break down so it’s incorporated into every bite of the pasta. It’ll also retain a gorgeous bright color this way. Let it cool for a min and then run your knife through it because, like I said, you want broc in every bite. Start cooking the pasta (I used 1/4 lb of fresh tagliatelle, but any wide pasta would work) and when it’s just about done, start your sauce by putting that chopped broccoli in a saucepan. I love all the ingredients nonna uses (especially the leek and spring onion), but I didn’t have all that at the ready. Instead, I used the juice from one whole lemon, a minced clove of garlic, a handful of breadcrumbs (NOT fancy ones or panko – go basic here), salt, and crushed red pepper. When the pasta finishes, reserve at least a half cup of the pasta water and start adding it to the broccoli mixture, little by little. As you stir you should hear that slappy sloshy sound as the broccoli and breadcrumbs interact with the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pan, along with grated parmesan and more pasta water as needed, toss toss toss. Serve with more grated parm.
This pantry pasta is so simple but really does seem like one of those things that your grandma would whip up as an after school snack. Quick and easy comfort – nothin better.