This is peasant food at its most comforting, something Angie’s grandmother Maria would make for a quick lunch at home. (She’d task Angie with breaking the pasta as a child to keep her busy.) It’s a one-pot affair: You’re essentially infusing the oil with garlic, then adding broccoli, celery, and water to make a vegetarian stock. In goes the pasta and a touch of lemon and cheese and you’re done. It’s simple but soul-satisfying.
Maria learned the recipe from her mother-in-law, who was Sicilian, and we recently found a very similar recipe in an old Italian cookbook that called for a traditional Sicilian chicory, which leads us to believe that the dish was probably adapted in America with broccoli. No matter where it originated or how exactly it came to be, this is one of our favorites, and it comes together quickly for a hearty meal. Feel free to substitute cauliflower for the broccoli, if that’s your mood.
Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
1 pound|450 grams broccoli (about 1 medium head), roughly chopped (florets and tender stalk)
½ cup|125 ml extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup|30 grams thinly sliced garlic (about half of 1 large head)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
½ cup|70 grams finely chopped celery (about 2 ribs)
¼ pound|115 grams dried linguine, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup|50 grams finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
- Working in batches as necessary, pulse the broccoli in the food processor until it is broken up into small even pieces. You should have about 4 cups|450 grams of broccoli crumbles.
- In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, black pepper, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the celery and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and stir to combine. Add 8 cups|1890 ml of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to meld the flavors.
- Increase the heat to high once more to bring the soup to a boil, then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
- To serve, ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese. Leftover soup keeps, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
Reprinted with permission from Italian American by Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli. Copyright © 2021. Photographs by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
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