Even the staunchest vegetable-hater will be tempted by this pasta dish, made with fresh broccoli, salty prosciutto, and crunchy breadcrumbs. Keep these ingredients on hand for a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner.
What to buy: Panko is coarse Japanese-style breadcrumbs, available in many grocery stores.
1 poundbroccoli crowns, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound dried short pasta, such as penne or rotini
3 tablespoonsolive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, small dice
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water; set aside. Once the water boils, add the broccoli and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the broccoli and plunge in the ice water bath; return the cooking water to a boil.
Remove the broccoli from the ice water bath and place in a colander or strainer set over a bowl to drain. Once the cooking water returns to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the prosciutto to a plate; set aside (and do not wash the pan).
Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat; add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and shallots, cooking until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the panko and cook until toasted and golden brown, about 2 minutes; remove from the heat.
Return the pasta to the pot and place over medium-low heat. Add the reserved pasta water, broccoli, and prosciutto. Taste the pasta and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary; stir until evenly mixed and the broccoli is heated through.
Transfer the pasta to a serving platter and sprinkle the panko mixture over top. Pass freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.
Beverage pairing:Lis Neris Pinot Grigio, Italy. This wine has a steely, lean edge from its tank fermentation, yet a broad, round breadiness from aging on its lees. The upshot is that it has the body to pair nicely with the pasta and good, green flavor to go with the broccoli.