rigatoni with broccoli romanesco

One food magazine we have a hard time resisting is La Cucina Italiana, a frequent impulse buy triggered by its stylish irresistible pasta dish photos. Usually bob is the culprit but this time ani picked it up on a solo food finding mission. We had Delverde mezze rigatoni on hand, a more manageable rigatoni shape, and one of the loudest shouting shots in the magazine (Do me! Do me!) was this rigatoni dish with regular broccoli. Wegmans had the first romanesco cauliflower of the season on display, so the plan became clear. Use the romanesco instead. We love romanesco, but it is a rare offering of the American food delivery system, at least where we are. Trader Joes has a mixed regular and romanesco cauliflower frozen product, but it just doesn't have the texture or flavor of the fresh stuff.

bob is not enthusiastic about really strong anchovy flavoring of pasta dishes, but a moderate hit can be just the thing. No need to include it in the name of the dish here, however.


6 c small broccoli florets (about 1.5 lbs) but we used 2 large romanesco cauliflower heads, florets only
1 lb rigatoni but we prefer mezzi rigatoni for this kind of dish
3 flat anchovy fillets (they also come rolled, hence the need for "flat")
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (we just mince our garlic)
1 1/2 T capers, rinsed
3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano plus more on the table
some freshly grated black pepper to taste (our addition)


  1. Separate the florets from the head and boil in a large pasta pot of salted water until tender, maybe 6 minutes. Then remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
  2. Return the water to a full boil and dump in the pasta, cooking until al dente. Follow time suggested on package for al dente results.
  3. Meanwhile coarsely chop together the anchovies, garlic and capers and add to the bowl with the broccoli.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 2 T oil over medium high heat and add the broccoli mixture.
  5. Cook stirring frequently about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  6. Reserve 1/4 c pasta cooking liquid and drain the pasta.
  7. Transfer to a large serving bowl and add the broccoli mixture and reserved pasta cooking liquid, the remaining T of oil and the parsley. Toss to combine.
  8. Adjust seasoning to taste, and the parmigiano.
  9. Serve immediately with extra cheese and optional black pepper.


  1. broccoli romanesco, broccoletti romanesco, romanesco cauliflower...whatever you call it, it is a wierd looking veggie. Take a peak.
  2. rigatoni con broccolo all'acciuga (with broccoli and anchovy): La Cucina Italiana, November, 2013, p. 50.
  3. We've done romanesco pasta before, giving us the experience to know that in this kind of recipe, it is better than broccoli: pastabroccolettiromani.htm.
  4. Illustrations available.
rigatoniromanesco.htm: 7-oct-2013 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]