This is a dish that has a long-standing history with my family. It’s kind of funny because we don’t really have a recipe, and everyone thinks of it as a different dish based on their preferences. My sister loves asparagus and lemon, my Mom loves broccoli and garlic so she thought that was supposed to be in it, and my Dad loves spicy red pepper flakes in his. Me? I want everything cooked perfectly and for the flavor to be RICCHHH 🙂
I have adapted a few different ways we cook it to basically my base for all olive oil sauces. For one thing, I really like my broccoli not too crunchy but not too soft either. I want the sauce to not have cream, but I want it to still be a sauce and not a broth. I want there to be that delicious white wine flavor and lemon acidity, but I don’t want to make a sour face while I’m eating this. No one said you can have the best of both worlds (ok maybe Miley did) but in this case, I think you can!
By the way, here’s a snapshot of what happens when two people who love each other hug and get their earrings caught, lol. The kitchen is a dangerous place.
Here’s my ingredient list:
1 bag of broccoli florets, about 1 head, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for taste
1 lb deveined raw shrimp (I used frozen, fresh obviously works
5 big cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 small pinches red pepper flakes
fresh black pepper
cooking water (see instructions)
1 lb long pasta (linguini is our favorite, I had spaghetti on hand here)
fresh Italian or curly parsley
1. Boil water for your pasta in a large dutch oven/pasta pot.
2. Place a steamer basket in water simmering in a small pot. In two batches, or one if your steamer basket fits all the broccoli, steam your broccoli for 2-4 minutes, until the florets are turning bright green but not quite soft! This is just the way I like it to get a little crunch off it
3. Once the water is boiling, add pasta and season with salt. Set a cup next to your pot to save some cooking liquid after the pasta is almost done.
4. Meanwhile, thaw your shrimp if frozen in a colander by rinsing with very cold water. I like to leave the tails on, but take them off if you prefer.
5. Heat a wide saucepan/skillet and add your 1/4 cup oil. Once warm, add your garlic. This can burn so watch carefully! I’d only cook it for 1-2 minutes just until it becomes fragrant. Then, add your half cup of wine, and turn up the heat just for a minute to cook off the alcohol.
6. Continuing with the sauce: Zest half of a lemon into the sauce, sprinkle about 2 big pinches of kosher salt, some cracked pepper, and the juice of 1-2 lemons. Add in the partially cooked broccoli, and add enough red pepper flakes to your liking.
7. Save some cooking liquid from the pasta pot, about 1/2 cup. This will help thicken up the sauce. Then, drain the pasta in a colander.
8. After the broccoli softens more and the sauce thickens, add in your shrimp and some of the pasta cooking liquid. Make sure everyone is touching the pan. Sprinkle again lightly with salt and pepper and more olive oil if you need it. Flip after the shrimp are starting to turn pink and cook for another 2 minutes until the other side turns pink. Watch these carefully they have the tendency to cook fast!!
9. Add pasta in small batches to the pan so that you can monitor the sauce:pasta ratio. Squeeze some lemon to finish and garnish with fresh chopped parsley!