Pasta with Broccoli, Pickled Peppers, and Mozzarella

Pasta with Broccoli is an easy, nutritious dish that we serve often at our house. We vary our traditional recipe by adding pickled cherry peppers for interest and spice. Strips of mozzarella cheese are also added which melt and produce long strings that are fun and tasty as we eat the pasta.

Servings and Times

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

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We start by filling our large pasta pot with water, covering it, and placing it on high heat. Ordinarily, we make the broccoli sauce in a separate pan, but for ease of cleanup we will cook the broccoli in the pasta pot after the pasta is cooked and drained.

We carefully smash our garlic cloves with the side of our knife and discard the peels. We add a pinch of kosher salt and chop the garlic. We put it in a small prep bowl, cover the garlic with the olive oil, and place in the microwave. We cook for 20 seconds at which time the oil is bubbling and the garlic is fragrant. We set aside to infuse.

We rinse our broccoli and cut the florets away from the stalk. We cut the florets into bite-size pieces and then peel the stalk with our knife, discarding the tough outer layers. We chop the tender part of the stalk into pieces. Some of the florets are set aside in a bowl – about ½ cup – for the children. They do not like spicy food, or garlic for that matter, so the plain broccoli will be cooked in the microwave and tossed with plain pasta and tomato sauce for them. The rest of the broccoli florets and stem are put in a large bowl.

Our pasta water is boiling, we salt the water and add the farfalle. We stir and cook uncovered, checking after 8 minutes. It takes about 12 minutes tonight for it to be al dente.

Meanwhile, we seed the red pickled peppers and chop into small pieces. We also slice our mozzarella into long strips.

When the pasta is al dente, we quickly remove ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid with a measuring cup. We drain the pasta and put the hot pot back on the stove over medium heat. We add the broccoli and then the garlic-oil and sauté for a couple of minutes. When it is bright green and almost tender, we add the reserved pasta cooking water and steam the broccoli for another minute or so. We add the pasta back to the pot, along with the minced pepper and mozzarella and stir to melt the cheese and coat the pasta with the broccoli sauce.

We serve the pasta with freshly grated Locatelli cheese.

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