July 6, 2011

For Anchovy Lovers: Pasta with Broccoli and Anchovies

The early crop of broccoli from the garden is ready, so I am happily eating some of it in favorite ways. A simple salad of lightly steamed broccoli, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice is an early summer pleasure. Another dish I love comes from Marcella Hazan's The Classic Italian Cookbook, now out of print, but available in used mass market copies. I make her "Broccoli and Anchovy Sauce for Orecchiette and Other Pasta" all year round, in winter with frozen broccoli, but it is especially delicious with the fresh vegetable. You definitely have to love anchovies to enjoy this recipe.

As with many recipes, this one is very adaptable. I am giving you the recipe as Hazan has written it, with my variations in parentheses. She uses this sauce for homemade orecchiette (little ears), but I use 1/2 pound of factory pasta.

for 2 to 4 servings, depending on the appetite

2 cups fresh broccoli florets (I use the stalks too, because I like them, and for this recipe used a small head of broccoli, about 1/2 pound.)
6 Tbs olive oil or 4 Tbs olive oil and 2 Tbs butter (Hazan prefers the sauce with some butter, but I use only olive oil.)
6 large or 8 medium flat anchovy filets, chopped
freshly ground pepper, 8 to 10 twists of the mill
1 Tbs butter
6 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 Tbs freshly grated Romano pecorino cheese (I don't like a lot of cheese in this dish and use only two or three tablespoons of Parmesan)

  1. Steam broccoli until crisp tender.
  2. Put 1/4 cup oil, or all the oil if you're not using butter, in a skillet with the chopped anchovies.Cook over medium heat, mashing the anchovies with the back of a wooden spoon until they're a paste.
  3. Add the broccoli, the pepper, the butter if you're using it. Turn broccoli in the sauce for 4 or 5 minutes. Taste for salt.
  4. Add the sauce to the cooked pasta, add the tablespoon of butter and cheese(s). Serve hot.

Update: I have learned in a comment from the great Marcella Hazan that the Classic Italian Cooking books are now in a different format, available as Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I think I will have to order this book since my paperbacks are the worse for years of heavy use, and this book has more recipes and techniques.


  1. Thank you for citing my recipe. Please note that the recipes in The Classic Italian Cook Book are always in print, but in a different format now. They are part of a compilation called Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Knopf) that includes scores of other recipes. Marcella Hazan

  2. Sounds good, but the picture of the pasta with the landscape in the background is the really yummy part of today's post!

  3. Oh my! if you are really Marcella Hazan (and we never know with this crazy internet world) I am incredibly pleased and honored that you have written a comment. As a facebook friend has put it "Marcella Hazan rules". Your two books of Classic Italian cooking are the most used cookbooks on my shelf, splattered from years of cooking; I also have the wonderful "Marcela Cucina."The recipes are delicious, yet simple, and I have many favorites. For me, you, along with Claudia Roden, are the great cookbook authors of our time. Thank you for your books of perfect recipes. And, I'm glad to know the new format for the Classic books.

  4. Ms. Wis, since it was a beautiful evening, perfect for outdoor eating, I thought I'd shoot the dish outside; it's nice the way the green of the broccoli is repeated in the landscape. Glad you like the photo.

  5. I am a relatively new reader of your blog but I am commenting to thank you for the Anchovy and Broccoli recipe! I just finished dinner as it is still 80 degrees here, in Rhode Island. So I held off cooking but when I finally decided enough, I was hungry, warm or not...it turned out to be such a fast simple recipe that it was done in no time. I love broccoli and always looking for interesting ways to make it. I will have to check out Marcella Hazan's cookbooks.

  6. Carol, I'm so glad that you liked the Marcella Hazan recipe. She writes great cookbooks. I'm going to buy her Essentials of Classic Italian cooking to replace my old worn paperbacks. Her recipes are simple and easy to follow; I think you'll like them.