Skillet Broccoli Spaghetti
This pasta, adapted from “I Dream of Dinner (So You Don’t Have To),” by Ali Slagle (Clarkson Potter, 2022), might seem unorthodox at first. The pasta is cooked in the sauce instead of in a separate pot of boiling water? The broccoli is cooked until it’s mushy enough to become sauce? Yes and yes, and for very good reasons. The sauce, sweet from simmered-until-tender broccoli and savory with loads of garlic and anchovy, tastes lovingly coddled, like you cooked that broccoli forever. But you know the truth: It came together in minutes. You don’t have to wait for a big pot of water to come to a boil, but more important, the pasta and sauce have a symbiotic relationship. The pasta soaks up the sauce flavors from the start, and the pasta releases starch to help turn the water into a creamy sauce.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 6garlic cloves
- 1 ½pounds broccoli
- ¼cup unsalted butter
- 4anchovy fillets
- 12ounces spaghetti (or another pasta that cooks in 10 minutes)
- Kosher salt
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
Step 1Thinly slice the garlic and transfer to a large (12-inch) skillet with high sides. Cut the florets off the broccoli, keeping as much of the branch connected to the trunk as possible. Peel the trunk and cut the trunk and branches into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to the skillet. Roughly chop the florets so even the biggest pieces fit on a soup spoon. Leave the florets on the cutting board.
Step 2To the skillet, add the butter and anchovies, and set over medium-high. Cook, smashing the anchovies and stirring the butter, until the garlic and broccoli are softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 3Add the spaghetti, the florets and any broccoli bits on the board, 2 teaspoons salt and the red-pepper flakes. Pour over 5 cups water. Bring to a boil over high, then cook, tossing often with tongs, until the spaghetti is al dente, 8 to 12 minutes. If the pasta is looking dry, add more water. Eat with grated Parmesan, if using.