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Rigatoni with Roman Broccoli Sauce
Romans use the leaves that grow around heads of broccoli to make a flavorful sauce for pasta. In the U.S., most of the leaves are stripped off before broccoli is sold. Our recipe instead uses the stems, which are equally flavorful and produce a silky sauce. Baby spinach retains the color of the original recipe.
pound broccoli, stems and florets separated
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
01In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Peel the broccoli stems, reserving any leaves, and cut crosswise into ½-inch rounds. Add the stems and leaves to the boiling water and cook until fully tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a blender; reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Keep the water at a boil.
Corinne - great question! I would recommend making the spinach and broccoli sauce, then freezing the sauce in portions (you can use an ice cube tray or silicone molds). That'll be easier to thaw and cook with than making the entire pasta dish, as frozen and thawed pasta can easily end up mushy. I would also encourage you to only add as much cooking water as absolutely necessary to get a creamy mixture, but not more than that. You can always thin with more water once thawed.
- The Milk Street Team
This recipe's instructions are confusing, as to what water you save ("reserve") and what water you add to the sauce. How can you cook the pasta in a half cup of water? Is there a second pot of boiling water to cook the pasta in? What am I missing? Any suggestions, you folks who have succeeded in cooking this (or the MilkStreet folks)? Thanks!
Hi Jay -
The recipe starts out with 4 quarts of water in which you first cook the broccoli stems and spinach. After cooking those you reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water that, in Step 3, gets added to the blender to make the sauce. The remaining water (which is just under 4 quarts at this point), is then used to cook the broccoli florets and then the pasta. After the pasta cooks you reserve an additional 1/2 cup of the cooking water in order to adjust the texture of the sauce in 1/4 cup increments. We hope that clears it up!
The Milk Street Team
Would be really great if all the recipes were in aa more printer friendly format - like two pages instead of three half full ones. So much less waste of paper and storage space in my recipe file
We loved this recipe too! I do think the red pepper was a bit much. I might use only half of what it calls for next time. I don't like capers so I just didn't include them. I cannot imagine what they'd add to the results. Also, the fresh spinach looked terrible at the store today, and since I had a bag of frozen chopped spinach, I guessed at how much 1 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach would reduce to and used a bit less than 1 cup of frozen spinach (thawed by the time I needed it). Seemed to work just fine! The recipe says it serves 4. 2 of us ate it tonight (with seconds) along with a grilled chicken thigh. I have enough leftover to feed 4 more! (Yes, I cooked 12 oz of pasta, not a whole pound as mentioned by one reviewer.) I too wish the "print" formatting would consolidate the space better. On this recipe, a half page is used up with the title and photo, both of which I like but not with tons of wasted white space around it. I want my recipes on one page. I know, some just need two pages. But certainly not 3 or more!) I will make this again.
Again, so salty. Every Milk Street recipe is like a salt lick. Just don't add any. There is more than enough in the cheese.