- 1 pound dry pasta of choice (I like Barilla Casarecce)
- 1 head fresh broccoli, sliced thinly crosswise so small, irregular pieces form
- 3/4 pound smoked smoked ham cut into 1/3-inch cubes
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (more or less to taste)
- 1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese (splurge for the reggiano)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fill a large pot two-thirds with cold water and bring to a boil. Add about 5 tablespoons salt and stir in pasta. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Return to a low boil and cook according to package instructions.
About 3-4 minutes before pasta is done, stir in broccoli. Return to a simmer.
Test pasta for doneness. Before straining, reserve a cup of the cooking water. Strain pasta and broccoli, and set aside for a minute.
Return the pot to the burner and add half the olive oil. Add garlic and let cook briefly until barely beginning to brown. Add the meat and stir to heat through.
Add the pasta and broccoli to the pot, and stir to mix well.
Add remaining olive oil and cheese, then add the reserved pasta water a little at a time, stirring, until a creamy sauce develops. (I used about 1/3 cup of pasta water).
Serve immediately with more cheese on the side, and freshly cracked black pepper if desired.
(Recipe from Tom Colicchio, as seen on The Today Show)