Posted by: Catherine | June 1, 2009

Broccoli Pasta and Another Award (!!!)





During my decades of dating/working in New York my refrigerator was bare (champagne…ice cream…and some mayo, maybe). It was a rare sight to find me in my kitchen cooking for myself, though I did occasionally have cocktail and dinner parties.

Among some of my bad boyfriends (if you dated for any significant period of time you know exactly what I mean) was one who fancied himself a cook. The only good that came from a year (!) with him was a recipe for a broccoli-pesto-pasta dish that I made for myself every night I was home alone and didn’t order in sesame noodles from—my favorite—First Wok. Anyone who’s lived in NYC knows First Wok since there’s one in almost every neighborhood. I would come home from work and, without  taking off my coat, I’d place my call. Remember the “Sex in the City” episode when Miranda called her neighborhood Chinese restaurant and the girl who answered the phone recognized her voice and  recited the order without Miranda having to utter a single ingredient? That woud have/could have been me and the First Wok hostess. By the time I’d hung up and gotten into my pajamas, the guy was at my door. Heaven!

Anyway, back to the bad boyfriend. He simply steamed broccoli (he didn’t buy florettes because he was cheapcheapcheap, and he did cut up the stalk, which was actually very good as it added a bit of texture) , cooked some fusilli and tossed them together with pesto. The key ingredient: lots and lots of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I still make the dish, and though Bruce and Emma love it and have given it blog-worthy status, I have yet to post anything about it. Probably because I want to give no credit to the BB.

That broccoli pasta has  morphed into a new broccoli pasta—I roast broccoli florettes (yes!) instead of steaming them, and I let cloves of garlic steep in extra virgin olive oil. (Actually, if I’m in a rush I just heat the two together for a couple of minutes…and to be really honest…if I’m really rushed, I nuke ’em for 15 seconds). The key ingredient in this version is the breadcrumb: I toast panko crumbs in butter and add to the pasta along with freshly grated Parmesan. If I have pine nuts on hand, which I didn’t when I made it last night, I toast them, too, and sprinkle over all.

12 oz. fusilli

3-4 cups broccoli florettes (I like a lot of broccoli—you can add more or less), tossed with olive oil to coat and sprinkled with kosher salt

4-6 cloves garlic (I like a lot of garlic–you can add more or less), minced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

3 T unsalted butter

1 cup Parmesan, more for topping

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Toasted pine nuts, optional for topping.


Cook fusilli according to package instructions. Meanwhile, toss the broccoli florettes with just enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Roast in a 425 degree oven, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until broccoli is tender and some of their tips are just gently charred. 

While pasta and broccoli are cooking saute panko breadcrumbs in butter until golden brown. Also, heat garlic in olive oil until it’s infused with a lovely garlicky flavor.

Drain the pasta when it’s finished and return to the pot. Add roasted broccoli, toasted panko, garlicky olive oil, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss, and sprinkle the top with more Parmesan and toasted pine nuts if you happen to have them on hand.

What do you think? I hope you like it better than the BB’s pasta that inspired it!

Who needs BBs anyway when you have foodie friends like Sophie from sophiesfoodiefiles? For the second time since I’ve been blogging I am proud to announce that we’ve won another award—The Sisterhood Award. Thank you so very much, Sophie. What an honor!



The Sisterhood Award is given to bloggers by bloggers in recognition of attitude and/or gratitude. I am passing it on to:









slim-shoppin, and  


Thank you all for supporting me with your comments (and more) with dependable regularity from the get-go—and I love all your blogs!

Please put the logo on your blog or post. Now it’s your turn to nominate up to 10 blogs. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post and let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog, or sending them an email. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award. Congrats!



  1. Thank you for the award! You are kind and deserving of it yourself! This broccoli pasta looks like it would be a huge hit with Mr. B. I will have to try it before it is too hot to use our oven.

  2. Congrats on your award and thank you so much for passing to me! I am honored! The broccoli pasta sounds great!

  3. Congratulation!
    Broccoli pasta sounds delicious.

  4. Thank you! and the pasta, how yummy!

  5. Hahaha I love the little mementos one keeps from dating miss-steps! I have a couple of recipes that I’ve never let go of, even though the offender/perpetrator is long gone!
    this looks lovely and healthy, will try it for sure!

  6. Yeah!! Thanks so much for including me!

    I loved your story of your bad boyfriend! But I love the recipe. My whole family would love that so I must make it soon.

    Thanks again!

  7. ~ Congratulation~ I love the fact that you roast the broccoli what a amazeing dish!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe~

  8. Catherine…how funny…I just posted a pasta using fusilli…such a coincidence. Your pasta looks terrific with broccoli and pine nut. Looks really yummie!

  9. Catherine – Congratulations and thank you so much for passing on an award to me!

    I love your broccoli dish, and the story behind it.

  10. Amazing salad. Congratulations for the award!

  11. You so deserve the award. Thanks for thinking of me!!

    I love the sound of your dish. Isnt it funny how dishes always make us think of the person it originated from ? Your changes made it your own and It truly sounds delicious!

  12. Your improved version of the pasta is wonderful! I bet the roasted broccoli gives it lots of flavor and heavy on the garlic – a girl after my own heart! Your so sweet for passing your award onto me, thanks a lot!!

  13. panko in pasta! love it, and LOVE the roasted broccoli in it! very creative and smart!
    and thanks so much for the award, Catherine! you made my day! *hugs* cook on, sister!

  14. This sounds delicious. And definitely improved with the roasted broccoli. Thanks!

  15. I could eat this everyday. The photo looks delicious! I love the combination of flavors and plan to make it this week! Thanks for sharing!

  16. And now it’s my turn to give you yet another well-deserved award – it’s over on my blog. Come and get it!

  17. Hey Catherine, again congrats on your latest award because you so deserve it! That broccoli pasta look georgous!! I love all the yummie flavours! Broccoli is a power food, so it is good to use it more often!

  18. Wow!
    It looks so delicious
    Thank for sharing

  19. Thank you, thank you for thinking of me!

  20. I relate to “bad boyfriends” (past life) and broccoli and pasta. We usually stir fry it while pasta is cooking. I like the roasting idea!

  21. That’s so my kind of pasta! Looks delicious!

  22. hahaha good story! this pasta sounds so goooood

  23. Hi Catherine,

    I just made the broccoli pasta for the first time and it was delicious. I strained the garlic out of the oil because I didn’t want it to be too strong and it was just right. Are you coming to NYC anytime in the near future? Let me know and we can get together.


  24. This is good

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