Broccoli pasta

Photographer: Emma
Serves 4

Anyone who has dined regularly at our family dinner table will have eaten broccoli pasta.  Once upon a time it was our signature dish and we ate it with such enthusiasm that after leaving home I found I had completely lost any appetite for it, fearing I may never wish to consume it again!  Many years passed and when we decided on Family Favourites as this month’s theme I knew it was time to dust off the old cookbook and once again recreate this wonderful dish.  It was everything I remembered it to be – fresh and zesty with a hint of chilli, finished beautifully with the smoothness of the cheese and crunch of the croutons.

This is a fabulous weeknight dinner and a great way to get the kids to eat their greens.  It requires few ingredients and very few dishes and is surprisingly quick and easy to make – taking little more time that it does to bring water to the boil and cook the pasta.  Best of all it tastes delicious.


3 slices bread, finely cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
80g parmesan cheese, finely grated

2 heads broccoli, chopped into small florets
400g dried pasta (spirali, penne etc)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
4 anchovies
½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested


1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan, add the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown and set aside.
2. Fill a large pot with water, salt liberally and bring to the boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. You do not want to overcook the broccoli at this stage as it will become mushy and brown. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside. Use the same water to boil the pasta; once it returns to the boil, add the pasta and simmer until cooked through. Drain.
3. While the pasta is cooking place the olive oil in a frying pan (on medium-high?), add the garlic, anchovies and chilli and sauté for several minutes.
4. Add the broccoli to the frying pan, mashing some bits up and leaving others whole. Finally, add the lemon zest, pasta and 2/3 of the parmesan cheese to the broccoli and mix through.
5. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parmesan cheese and small handful of croutons.