I serendipitously discovered a conveniently located store that sells bulk, artisanal pasta shortly before receiving a new cookbook that contains several beautiful recipes that call for the fancy stuff. I made this simple pasta for friends on a weeknight– it’s very fast, easy, and delicious. The special pasta elevates the meal to dinner party-worthy status. (This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian, by Alice Hart).
12 oz orecchiette pasta
broccoli, cut into small florets (I used several large heads, because I wanted to go heavy on the green)
2 small red chilis, de-seeded and diced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted in the oven
3 garlic cloves, diced
parmesan, grated, to taste
salt and pepper
bring salted water to boil and blanch the broccoli. rinse in cool water and set aside.
bring another pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
while the water is heating, saute the garlic and chili in generous amount of olive oil (recipe calls for 4 tbsp)
cook gently, and before garlic begins to brown, add the blanched broccoli. Cook for several minutes, adding the toasted walnuts and salt and pepper.
when the pasta is finished cooking, drain it, but reserve some of the water.
add the pasta to the pan with the broccoli with some of the starchy water and the grated cheese. Mix well and serve.