I made this pasta with broccoli and bread crumbs from “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” a few weeks ago but I keep forgetting to tell you about it, not because it’s not memorable but probably because I’ve been cooking so much this month, it got lost in the shuffle.
I’ll never forget this pasta, though, because it’s one of the best I’ve made. I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating but I’m not. Usually when I try a pasta recipe that involves a bunch of steps, I end up with a finished product that’s a little underwhelming. The pasta is good, but it doesn’t always feel worth the effort.
The complete opposite is true with this pasta with broccoli and bread crumbs. I made it on a cold winter’s night in February and it took a while to finish, but once I tried a bowlful, I didn’t want to stop eating.
The recipe in “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” says that you can use a bunch of different kind of noodles but I’d recommend sticking with orecchiette. Orecchiette, which means “little ears” in Italian, is a good pasta shape for sauce-laden dishes. I like to think of them as little saucers that mop up whatever’s around them, so you get the most flavor in one bite.
This pasta gets a boost from homemade bread crumbs, which may seem superfluous but trust me, they’re not. They add some crunch and pair well with the Parmesan cheese and broccoli. If you want to save yourself a step, I guess you could toast some pre-ground bread crumbs with olive oil, but you’d miss out on the flavor and texture of the homemade ones.
I will say though that I made the full recipe for bread crumbs and then I had trouble using up the rest, so if you want you can halve Samin Nosrat’s bread crumb recipe.
My favorite part about this pasta besides the flavors is the fact that it stays good for days in the fridge. I think I ate it for a few days straight for lunch and I didn’t feel like I wanted to puke or throw it in the trash, which is the telltale sign of a bad leftover dish.
ANYWAY. Make this pasta as soon as possible. It’s a great late winter/early spring dish that you can save for lunch and dinner throughout the week.
Here’s a song to get you started on your broccoli pasta journey.