Years ago I worked in a small Italian restaurant in Melbourne called Ecco. If I worked a lunch shift it came with the reward of sitting down to lunch with a couple of locals for often dishes that weren’t on the menu but were always delicious. The key was they were simple and rustic Italian fare that were often family favourites and always made the most of the quality ingredients. One of the dishes that exemplifies this was broccoli with orecchiette. It is basically just good quality orecchiette, fresh broccoli, extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese, but it is delicious!
1 large broccoli
3 cups orecchiette*
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes
Cut the broccoli into small florets. I also like to chop most of the stem into thin slices and include also.
In large pot of boiling salted water, cook broccoli for about 2 minutes. With slotted spoon or sieve transfer the cooked broccoli to a bowl of ice water.
In same pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until tender but firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
In the meantime heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over a med-low heat and sweat off the onion and garlic with the chilli flakes. When the onions are translucent add the broccoli along with the cooked pasta along with about a ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss well and serve with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
Note; although not strictly vegetarian you can add a couple of anchovy fillets in when cooking the onions. These will give the pasta an added punch.
* Orecchiette means little ears. Look for this pasta in good food stores but off course if you can’t find it you can use different shape pasta.