marisa mariella

easy mouthwatering recipes that unite your family and friends

Pasta e Broccoli All'aglio Rosso

I love those recipes that start with putting a large pot of water to boil. Why? Because it means that dinner will be ready in about 20 minutes. Pasta e broccoli, inspired by my mother in law, is a go-to recipe in my home. Fast and nutritious, this is italian comfort food but don’t be fooled… it can just as easily become an elegant primo piatto for any dinner party.The “sauce” is created from an uncomplicated technique of slowly heating generous amounts of an exceptional olive oil with garlic. As it simmers, the garlic softens and mellows, infusing the oil. In italy, it is common to crush the garlic to infuse the oil. In North America, we tend to slice the garlic, leaving it in the oil to dress the pasta. And whatever you do, don’t turn your eyes away from the pan. You risk burning the garlic and throwing everything out. The second most important technique is the emulsion that is created when the pasta and broccoli are tossed in the infused oil. The aeration causes the added starchy water to emulsify with the oil, resulting in a velvety sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course dinner, Pasta
Servings 6 servings


  • 450 g pkg pasta
  • 2 large broccoli heads and stalks
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • Salt


  • Fill large pot with water, cover, and bring to boil on high heat.
  • In the meantime, prepare broccoli by trimming ends of stalks.
  • Separate florets. Peel stems.
  • Peel stalks. Cut in half and chop into large pieces.
  • Place broccoli in bowl and rinse under water. Drain. Set aside.
  • Once pot boils, add enough salt to taste like the sea. This step is very important!
  • Add broccoli and cover with lid. Bring to boil. Remove lid and add pasta. Stir and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until almost done.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, add oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using). Using low heat, simmer until garlic is soft and lightly golden. Do not brown or burn the garlic. Remove from heat if pasta is not ready.
  • About one minute before pasta is ready, use spider to lift pasta and broccoli from pot and add to pan.
  • Increase heat on pan, toss using two wooden spoons, and add ladleful of pasta water. Continue tossing, breaking down any large pieces of broccoli. May drizzle little more olive oil. (The starchy pasta water and oil form an emulsion with the tossing.)
  • Taste the pasta for salt and doneness. Add more salt if needed.
  • Serve immediately with an extra drizzle of olive oil.


As simple as this pasta is, there are many variations. Consider any of the following or create your own variation.
  • Adding 5 or 6 anchovy fillets to olive oil with garlic. As they simmer, the fillets will dissolve in the oil.
  • Adding fresh graing of parmigiano Reggiano in the last few seconds of tossing.
  • Adding ½ cup breadcrumbs to the pan with oil after the garlic has softened. Then continue cooking to toast the breadcrumbs.
  • Add a cooked protein to the final dish such as grilled shrimp or chicken.
Keyword broccoli, extra virgin olive oil, garlic