Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Total time: 30 minutes
1 generous bunch broccoli (about 1 3/4 pounds)
Salt and black pepper
1 pound fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 5 anchovy fillets (to taste), rinsed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino, for serving
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Cut broccoli crowns from stems, leaving about 1 inch of stem at the base of each crown; set aside thick stems for another purpose.
2. Salt boiling water generously and add broccoli. Boil 5 to 6 minutes, until tender enough to break apart with a fork.
3. Using a skimmer, tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli crowns to a bowl of cold water (do not drain water from pot). Drain broccoli, then blot on paper towels. Chop fine.
4. Bring water in pot back to a boil and add fusilli.
5. While fusilli is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy skillet and add garlic, anchovies and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook, stirring and mashing anchovies with the back of a wooden spoon, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chopped broccoli.
6. Add a ladle or two (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta water to the broccoli, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Broccoli should be very soft. Remove another ladle of pasta water and set aside.
7. Drain pasta and toss at once with broccoli and remaining olive oil. Add water you set aside if you think it needs more moisture. Serve at once, sprinkled with cheese.