Orecchiette with Broccoli, Roasted Garlic, and Pine Nuts

This little dish appeared last week as the April 30 Food & Wine Recipe of the Day. What struck me about it was that it reminded me of a dish I used to order at a Seattle restaurant, though the one I used to order had the addition of small clusters of goat cheese sprinkled in.

I definitely recommend adding the goat cheese.

Orecchiette with Broccoli, Roasted Garlic, and Pine Nuts

Orecchiette with Broccoli, Roasted Garlic, and Pine Nuts
Courtesy of Food & Wine

1 head garlic, separated into cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into small florets
3/4 pound orecchiette
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Heat the oven to 325°. In a small ovenproof dish, toss the garlic with the oil. Cover with foil and roast until soft, about 30 minutes. Put the pine nuts in a separate pan and toast alongside the garlic until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the flesh out of the peelings and mash the garlic into the warm oil remaining in the baking dish. Add the salt and pepper.

In a medium saucepan, steam or boil the broccoli until just done. Steaming will take about 5 minutes and boiling will take about 2.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orecchiette until just done, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the orecchiette and toss with 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, the broccoli, the garlic mixture, the pine nuts, and the Parmesan. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta water. Serve with additional Parmesan.

My only mistake on this is that I quickly unwrapped all of my garlic cloves before remembering they needed to bake while still in the wrappings. Unfortunately, the garlic browned and hardened, so it wasn’t a smooth paste. To get around that, I gave it a spin in the food processor and pulverized it until it was mostly spreadable.

Orecchiette With Broccoli Roasted Garlic and Pine Nuts

Aside from my screw up, this was a light and delicious little lunch. Even just preparing the broccoli with the garlic-oil paste would make a fantastic side dish. Full props on this tasty dish… and that has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a sucker for broccoli.


Weeknight Cooking: A-
Overall Dish: A-

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