Broccoli Pasta

From Old World Italian by Mimi Thorisson

I’m always thrilled to receive a cookbook (or any book for that matter) as a gift.  It’s a gesture of endearment to me, as it lets me know that I am truly understood by that person.  They “get me” and my love of food, cooking and of course, cookbooks.  

Recently, I was given the cookbook “Old World Italian” by Mimi Thorisson.  I didn’t know much about the cookbook author, but her story is one of those that you wish was yours.  After living in France and writing several cookbooks and conducting cooking workshops there, she and her husband and children decided to travel through Italy, eventually living there, in search of exquisite, authentic Italian recipes.   This book is the product of those travels.  

I honestly don’t know what I enjoyed more……the written story of this adventure or the recipes.  The book truly reads like a novel.  I couldn’t put it down.  Such a fantasy come true!  And the pictures will have your mouth watering in minutes.  There is no other way to describe this book other than “dreamy.”  

One of my favorite recipes from the book is “broccoli pasta.”  It’s different from the “pasta with broccoli” recipe I have in the archives.  While I absolutely adore that recipe, this one is just as delicious, but with a different texture and a rather different taste.  I have added it to my repertoire of healthy vegetarian meals.  I’d be surprised if you didn’t do the same.

I hope you enjoy!


1 large head of broccoli and stems (about 1 pound) cut into small florets and coarsely chopped stems

1 pound dried spaghetti (meaning from a box, not freshly made)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced ( I used 2 cloves…love that garlic!)

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream ( You can try a non dairy creamer. I bet it would be fine)

1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese. (You might want more for passing?)

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, keeping the water boiling to cook the pasta.
  2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Reserving 1 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, return to the empty pot and set aside.
  3. (While the pasta is cooking I did these next 3 steps). In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Pour the cream over the mixture. Cook for 15 seconds and remove from the heat.
  4. Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor and process until roughly creamy.
  5. Add the broccoli sauce and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water to the pot of pasta and set the pot over medium high-high heat. Cook, tossing frequently, until the pasta is well coated, 1 to 2 minute( add more pasta water if needed). Season with salt and pepper and scatter the grated Parmesan on top. Serve immediately.

** NOTE: I made sure the broccoli sauce was ready before I drained the pasta so the pasta wouldn’t clump together in the pot. Also, I tossed the pasta after adding the cheese at the end, to mix it in so it would cling to each strand of spaghetti. Then I added a bit more, “scattered” on top and passed Parmesan cheese at the table.

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