Penne with Broccoli, Garlic, and Pecorino (recipe)

Penne with Broccoli, Garlic, and Pecorino

Anchovies? Anchovies?!? I can’t believe I’m cooking with anchovies! I had sworn them off years ago after a disastrous pizza suggestion in the US (my first encounter with them). However over the last few months repeated viewing of the Food Network and Rachael Ray started to wear down my resistance. ‘Don’t fear, they’ll cook down to a paste and just add flavour’, that’s what I kept hearing. Yeah right, I would think to myself – all smug in the bitterness of my memory. Still, with each repeating of that phrase, with each new recipe that looked divine on my screen my smugness slowly dissolved into cautious curiousity.

Maybe I had written them off prematurely? There was only one way to find out. Armed with the below recipe I tiptoed into unchartered territory, and emerged… reborn! Anchovies are my new best friend! I’ve cooked with them a second time since making this. No one tastes them as distinct or separate or even realizes that fish is in the mix. The end result is really smoky, slightly salty, and definitely subtle. Colour me a convert 😀

Penne with Broccoli, Garlic, and Pecorino

Recipe By: Cooking to Beat the Clock : Inspired Meals in 15 Minutes
Serving Size: 4


1 head broccoli, about 1 1/4 lbs
1 tablespon salt, plus more to taste
1 lb penne
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic
3 anchovy fillets.
1/2 teaspoon hot-pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese



1. Run the hot water tap and put 2 quarts hot tap water in each of 2 pots (one large enough to eventually hold all the water, pasta, and broccoli
2. Cover and bring both pots a boil over high heat, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cut the bottom 1 inch from the broccoli stems
4. Separate the stems from the ehads.
5. Peel the stems and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices.
6. Seperate the heads into florets.

7. Rinse in a colander large enough to hold the cooked pasta
8. When the water boils, transfer the water from the smaller pot into the larger pot.
9. Add the 1 tablespoon salt, pasta
10. Stir, cover, and return to a boil.
11. Stir again, partially cover and cook
12. 5 minutes before end of pasta cooking time, add broccoli
13. While the pasta and broccoli cook, put the oil in a wok or large skillet, over medium heat.
14. Peel the garlic.
15. Drop the garlic down the chute of a food processor with the motor running.
16. Add the anchovies and puree.
17. Reduce the heat under the wok to medium-low and scrape the garlic-anchovy mixture into the wok.
18. Cook for 2 minutes, add the hot pepper flakes, stir, and turn off the heat.
19. Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
20. Add the pasta, broccoli, and cooking water to the wok with the garlic and anchovies.
21. Toss well.
22. Add the cheese and toss again.

23. Taste and adjust for salt and hot pepper.
24. Serve in soup plates or pasta bowls.