I’m on a bit of a pasta kick lately. This is partly because I now live in a house with a kid, and pasta is almost sure to be well reviewed, and partly because April and May are the among the craziest times of the year for me and pasta is easy. Moral of the story: nothing wrong with easy.
This is one of those brilliant dishes where you cook everything in one pot, which gets it extra easy points. I will even cop to using store-bought pesto for this, and while I admit this to be a travesty when compared with homemade, I submit that sometimes you just need something for lunch and this beats the heck out of fast food.
1 head of broccoli
Kosher or sea salt
1/2 lb. pasta (I used bowties; Jamie recommends tagliatelle, which is wide flat pasta)
1/4 c. pesto
1/4 c. parmesan (or a blend with parmesan, asiago, romano, etc.)
Fresh basil, if you feel like it or have it handy
Put a big pan of water on to boil and salt it generously. The standard instruction is that it should taste like the sea, so however much salt you’re using, it’s probably not quite enough!
Cut the broccoli into small florets. If you like, you can also peel and very thinly slice the stem. Peel the potato, then use your peeler to shave it into slices. If you’re using basil, pick the leaves off the stalk and use scissors to snip it into smallish pieces.
When the water boils, add the pasta and broccoli stalks and cook until two minutes before it will be done, according to the package instructions. Then add the florets and potato slices.
When it is finished, use a measuring cup to scoop out a half-cup or so of pasta water, then drain the whole thing. Put in a bowl and toss with the pesto (and basil, if you’re using it), using the pasta water as needed to thin the sauce to the consistency you prefer.
Serve topped with the cheese. Serves 3-4.