This is a recipe I grew up with. It was served frequently in the Italian-American home where I grew up.
It's simple and easy to make, but so delicious and nutritious - an example of the fact that gourmet food doesn't have to be complicated.
8 ounces penne pasta
2 cups bite-size fresh broccoli florets (approx. 8 ounces)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (optional; more or less to taste)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Blanch the broccoli by boiling for one minute (or microwaving for 1 or 2 minutes with 2 tablespoons of water) until crisp-tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, and drain.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium to medium-low heat. Add the garlic, along with the red pepper flakes, if using. Saute for about 30 seconds, just until the aroma starts to emerge. Do not let the garlic get brown.
Add the broccoli to the skillet, and saute for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
Add the drained pasta, along with salt and pepper to taste.
Saute over medium to medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes to blend all the flavors.
-- Serves 3-4