This is a great way to get a double dose of broccoli in one dish. Some of the broccoli is puréed to make the sauce, while the rest is left whole for crunch and a bit of lemon zest is added to give it a bright, fresh flavor. I prefer to use a shelled pasta for this recipe to allow for some of the sauce to get inside of the noodles but you can use any pasta you prefer.
1/2 large head broccoli (about 1 1/2 cups chopped florets)
2 ounces pasta shells
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Zest from 1/2 lemon
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add broccoli. Blanch for about 2 minutes, until just bright green. Transfer broccoli to a bowl of ice water and set aside. Return pan with water to stove, add salt and bring back to a boil. Add pasta and cook about 7-10 minutes, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water and transfer pasta to a medium bowl.
2. Remove half of broccoli from ice bath and pat dry. Place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, adding a bit of olive oil if mixture is too thick to pulse (you want this to be thick and mostly chopped). Set aside.
3. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes (do not let garlic burn). Drain remaining broccoli and pat dry. Add to pan, along with lemon zest and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add mixture to bowl of pasta. Add chopped broccoli and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper (add a little pasta water if mixture is too thick). Transfer to a serving bowl and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve warm.