3oz(85 grams) bacon lardons(or smoked Italian pancetta (see notes))
½teaspoonred pepper (chilli) flakes
½cupgrated Parmesan cheese
3tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1pound(450 grams) cavatelli pasta(store bought or homemade)
extra Parmesan for serving
Begin by place a large pot of well salted water on to boil.
Meanwhile, thinly slice garlic. Cut stalks from the broccoli, peel, then cut into thin slices. Cut the broccoli heads into small florets.
Place the bacon lardons and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in large, cold frying pan. Set it over low/medium heat. As the pan heats up the fat in the bacon will start to melt and release all it's flavor. Continue cooking the bacon for 3-4 minutes or until browned and become a little crispy and the fat is rendering.
In the meantime, add florets and stalk slices to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes or until the stalks are just tender but still firm. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a colander. Keep water boiling.
Add cavatelli to boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain cavatelli, reserving ½ cup cooking water.
Add the sliced garlic to the bacon. Cook, stirring for 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Then add the red pepper (chilli) flakes and broccoli. Stir over heat for a minute or two. If the pasta isn't ready, turn the heat off until you add the cavatelli to avoid overcooking the broccoli.
Add cavatelli, Parmesan, reserved cooking water and remaining extra virgin olive to the pan. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust with a little more salt, if needed.
Pile into a serving bowl and sprinkle with extra Parmesan. Serve hot.
Tips for successBringing a large pot of water to the boil can take time. Speed this up by pouring a kettle full of boiling water into the pot. Top up with more hot water as needed and you'll have boiling water in just a few minutes.Broccoli for this pasta dish needs to be tender. Piece the stalk with a fork to check for doneness. Remember that it will keep cooking so don't take it too far. However, I do love when some of the broccoli softens and melts into the sauce.FAQ'sCan I use frozen broccoli? Yes, however since frozen broccoli is generally precooked, it only needs heating. Therefore, just cook for around 2 minutes in the boiling water before removing with a slotted spoon.What are bacon lardons? Lardons are cut from a slab of bacon into short, batons. What is Italian Pancetta? This pancetta is flat as opposed to rolled. It has an intense flavor and fat content which add fantastic flavor to this Cavatelli and Broccoli pasta dish. However, it is not always readily available.