Robust roasted garlic pairs with the broccoli and chewy orecchiette perfectly. And a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese adds the finishing touch. This pasta also tastes great with a bit of spiciness; if you like, add a pinch of red-pepper flakes to the garlic oil as soon as you remove it from the oven.
Plus: More Pasta Recipes and Tips
1 head garlic, separated into cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into small florets
3/4 pound orecchiette
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
How to Make It
Heat the oven to 325°. In a small ovenproof dish, toss the garlic with the oil. Cover with foil and roast until soft, about 30 minutes. Put the pine nuts in a separate pan and toast alongside the garlic until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the flesh out of the peelings and mash the garlic into the warm oil remaining in the baking dish. Add the salt and pepper.
In a medium saucepan, steam or boil the broccoli until just done. Steaming will take about 5 minutes and boiling will take about 2.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orecchiette until just done, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the orecchiette and toss with 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, the broccoli, the garlic mixture, the pine nuts, and the Parmesan. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta water. Serve with additional Parmesan.
Save the Stems Though we use only the florets from the broccoli in this pasta, don't throw away the unused stems. Peel and slice them and add to a stir-fry or vegetable soup or use as a vegetable in their own right, either sautéed in olive oil with a little garlic or boiled and buttered.
Look for a crisp and zippy white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc from the northern part of Italy. It will hold its own with the cheese, oil, and nuts and also complement the broccoli.
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