Another win by Martha. If you like spicy pasta, you'll like this dish. It was my pre-marathon meal choice and I think it was perfect. Not too heavy and no scary, unpredictable, what-are-the-side-effects ingredients - just the basics.
I added chicken to the recipe, but I also think it would be good with sausage or shrimp. What I'm really trying to say is: I think it needed the meat.
Spicy Orecchiette with Broccoli
Coarse salt and ground pepper
12 ounces orecchiette or other short pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (Erika's note: I used like twice this amount. Much better.)
1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into bite-size florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Erika's addition: chicken breast
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.
While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes. (Erika's add: I threw the chicken in sometime around now) Add broccoli and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until broccoli begins to soften, about 8 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until water has evaporated and broccoli is crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes more.
To pasta in pot, add broccoli mixture, Parmesan (reserving some for later), and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta. Serve sprinkled with remaining Parmesan.