Yet another success from Smitten Kitchen. Lately a lot of my pasta sauces have subsisted with food processed vegetables …
- ½ pound broccoli
- ½ pound dried spaghetti (I used orecchiette)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced (or, more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- Freshly ground black pepper or pinches of red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- A heap of grated parmesan (about ½ cup), to serve
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for your pasta.
- Remove broccoli florets from stems and chop into medium florets. Peel stems with a vegetable peeler (I do this so that they cook quickly, plus, I prefer their taste without the tough stem skin.) and slice them into ½-inch segments.
- Use your pot of future pasta water to steam (by suspending a mesh strainer over your pasta pot and covering it with a lid for 5 to 6 minutes)) or par-boil (for 3 to 5 minutes) your broccoli florets and stems until just tender, then drain if needed and set them aside.
- Add pasta to water and cook until al dente, or about one minute less than fully cooked. Before draining pasta, reserve a cup of pasta cooking water and set it aside. Drain pasta.
- Wipe out pot so that you can use it again. In the bottom of pot, melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add onion and reduce to medium-low, sauteing it until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add steamed broccoli, salt and red or black pepper and turn the heat back up to medium-high, cooking it with the onion and garlic for a few additional minutes. Pour cream over mixture and let cook for 30 seconds.
- Transfer broccoli mixture and all of its creamy bits at the bottom of the pan to a blender or food processor and blend in short bursts until it’s finely chopped and a little sauce. Don’t worry if it looks dry; that reserved pasta water will give it the sauciness it needs in a minute. (Theoretically, one could also use an immersion blender here inside their pot to make the broccoli sauce, but it might be a bit messy with all of the chunks and small bits.)
- Add the broccoli sauce back to the pot with the drained spaghetti and a splash or two of the reserved pasta water. Cook over medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing the mixture so that it evenly coats. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt or pepper, and scoop into a serving bowl. Shower spaghetti with grated parmesan and dig in.