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from "Good & Garlicky, Thick & Hearty, Soul-Satisfying, More-Than-Minestrone Italian Soup Cookbook" by Joe Famularo

I loved this soup the minute I tasted it at Trattoria Pasqualino on via dei SS Quattro, just a street away from the Roman Colosseum. We were seated next to a buffet, which itself was situated in front of an oversized vintage refrigerator with glass doors. The view was tempting, for on the buffet and inside the refrigerator we could see the wonderful array of antipasti we were about to sample. Pasqualino, the owner of the restaurant, is a small, enormously efficient man with a warm personality and an instinctive understanding of good food, and this spicy-hot, substantial pasta and broccoli soup is appetizing proof of his skills. I like to serve it followed by a simple broiled fish fillet sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and accompanied by little boiled potatoes garnished with finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Serves 6 to 8

1 bunch fresh broccoli (about 11/2 pounds), tough ends trimmed
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 dried chili pepper (the tip end)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
Salt, to taste
8 ounces dried small pasta, such as elbows, tubettini, or shells
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, such as Romano

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1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, separate the broccoli stems from the head. Cut the head into 1-inch florets. Peel the edible parts of the stems and slice thin. Rinse and drain and set aside.
3. Sauté the pancetta in a large, nonreactive soup pot over medium heat and let it crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chili pepper, stir well, and cook to soften, 1 minute.
4. Add the broccoli to the soup pot, along with the wine. Cook, uncovered, stirring, until the wine has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the water and a little salt. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook the broccoli until tender, about 10 minutes.
5. When the pasta water comes to a boil, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 or so cups of the cooking liquid, and return the pasta to the pot. Toss the olive oil with the pasta. Add the broccoli mixture and as much of the reserved pasta cooking liquid — 1/2 cup at a time — as necessary for the desired thickness but be aware that this should be a thick soup. Stir well, then taste and correct the seasoning.
6. Serve in warmed bowls, accompanied by the grated cheese.

Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Ocean Mist Farms Broccoli - $3.99/ea Save! 2 for $7.00
 approx 2lbs
Citterio Premium Pancetta - $11.99/lb
Pecorino Romano DOP, Imported - $13.99/lb
  Chile Today-Hot Tamale Dried Ancho Chiles
This product is currently unavailable.
  Varanda do Conde Vinho Verde
This product is currently unavailable.
  De Cecco Elbows - $2.49/ea
You May Already Have
  Garlic - $3.99/lb
  Morton Regular Salt - $0.89/ea
  Bel Aria Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - $10.99/ea
 34fl oz
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