We are giving a little love to pasta this week. I don’t know about you, but pasta is HUGE in my house. I know that whenever I make it, it will always be a hit. Bonus points for the fact that pasta is usually a super quick dinner to make for the fam. You can get soooo creative with sauces…add veggies and all different kinds of meats and seafood. I actually have an awesome guide to building sauces and how to BYO amazing sauce. There’s a guide to the best veggies and meats for all the different sauces. I think it’s such a great guide and you can get it by clicking on this link!
So let’s talk about my two What’s For Dinner Wednesday picks. If you grew up as an Italian kid, I’m sure that Pasta with Garlic and Oil (aglio olio) was a staple for you. It’s sooo simple and sooo good. But, let’s add some broccoli for all the health benefits. My Spaghetti Garlic and Oil with Broccoli is super delicious and super fast to make. It definitely rivals my other favorite…Cacio e Pepe. Cacio e Pepe means Cheese and Pepper in Italian. This pasta is a classic Roman dish that has big flavor with very little ingredients. Here’s how you make them:
Spaghetti Garlic and Oil with Broccoli
- 1 bag steamable broccoli florets (you will only use half the bag for this recipe – feel free to use more if you like a lot of broccoli)
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- 10 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 box of Barilla Spaghetti Rigati or Spaghetti
- 1/3 cup pasta cooking water
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- Put up a pot of water for the pasta. Steam the bag of broccoli 1 minute less than the directions dictate. Begin the steps below, however, whenever the water boils, add the spaghetti.
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. When warm lower the oil to medium low and wait about 1-2 minutes, then add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Let the garlic cook low and slow for about 8-10 minutes. The garlic should turn golden and light brown, but never look like it’s burning (see photos above).
- Using half the bag of broccoli, begin to slice the larger pieces lengthwise using the stems as your guide in where to cut so that the broccoli pieces stay together. Set aside.
- Add the chicken broth to the oil and stir well. It may separate and that’s ok. It will all come together. After about 2-3 minutes, add the broccoli. Let cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.
- Take you 1/3 cup of pasta water before draining the spaghetti. Drain and add back to the pot. Add the pasta water and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Stir well. Then add the sauce and the remaining cheese. Stir well. Serve with more cheese, if desired.
Cacio e Pepe
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
- 3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
- 1 box Barilla Collezione Penne Pasta or a similar pasta
- 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Put up a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Make sure to put the lid on so it boils quickly.
- In a large heavy bottomed skillet, add the butter and melt over medium low heat. When melted, add the pepper and garlic. Stir and simmer. Come back to stir every so often.
- Salt the pasta water well. When boiling, salt the water well and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Take a cup of the starchy pasta water before dumping the pasta in a colander. This is a really important step. Regular water won’t work.
- Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the butter mixture. Add the pasta water and a little salt, and stir really well. Turn up the heat slightly to medium, then begin to add a handful of cheese at a time to the pasta. Stir until melted and incorporated then add the next handful. Continue until all the cheese has been added. Let sit for one minute.
- Top with a little more grated Pecorino Romano, freshly cracked black pepper, and parsley. Enjoy!
Tiffany Cohen runs the food blog Whatcha Cooking Good Looking? and is a Food / Product Photographer and Recipe Developer. She is a wife and mom of two little guys. She lives in Oakdale and loves to support local businesses and people in her community doing great things!