2cupsmedium shellsmeasured uncooked, about 180 grams of pasta
3-5clovesgarlic, mincedto taste
¼teaspoonred pepper flakesplus more for serving if desired
1.5cupsfinely chopped broccolijust the ends (the crumbly green bits)
3tablespoonreserved pasta watermake sure there's salt in your pasta water
¾cupasiago, shreddedparmesan can work too
salt and pepperto taste
diced red onionadding a small handful along with the broccoli is optional but so delicious
Cook your medium shells according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. While the water comes to a boil, chop your broccoli bits (into small pieces since they're not cooking for long), mince your garlic, and chop your red onion if you're using it.
While your pasta is cooking, add the olive oil, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic to a large sauce pan on medium-low heat. Stir gently, and let it cook for at least five minutes.
When there's just a few minutes left for the pasta to cook, add your chopped broccoli bits (and red onion, if using) and salt and pepper (to taste) to the olive oil mixture. Stir well and turn the heat to medium.
Before you drain your pasta, reserve three tablespoons of the salty pasta water and set aside.Once you've drained the pasta, add it to the broccoli mixture and stir well. Then, add the reserved pasta water and the shredded asiago and stir for at least another minute, until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the cheese is melted. I serve mine topped with a bit more asiago, red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper. Sometimes I'll add an extra splash of olive oil too. Dig in and enjoy!
This recipe makes two big bowls of pasta for two hungry people.