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Broccoli can be a divisive ingredient: some people can’t stand its smell, others don’t find green appealing, but on top of being a healthy and versatile ingredient, broccoli can also bring instant comfort when paired with the right flavours. 

Last year we flew back to London from Dublin on Easter Sunday. We hugged Annalisa goodbye at the airport as she headed to Italy to visit her family. We sat reading and laughing, waiting for our gate to be announced, with the bittersweet satisfaction of the end of a holiday. Margaux had been surprised by a frustrating cold; Irene felt melancholic. We bought sugar-filled frappuccinos from Starbucks to cheer up. 

We took our seats on the plane, separately, because we find it ridiculous that we have to pay extra for the right to sit next to each other. We knew we were returning to the salmon pink kitchen, and we knew we wanted to make broccoli and anchovy pasta. We walked home with our shared carry-on and a broccoli crown from our local Turkish shop. 

We had made this pasta before, but that night we perfected our recipe and sat eating with wide smiles before watching Brooklyn, ending an Easter of new traditions. 

Ingredients for 2:

1 broccoli crown
1 can of anchovies in olive oil, drained
parmesan – we don’t measure our cheese for pasta!
2 garlic cloves, minced
chilli flakes
S & P
olive oil
spaghetti or penne – about 100g per person


  1. Start off by bringing a pot of salted water to boil. Wash your broccoli and cut the florets, add them to the pot and boil for about 7 minutes. 
  2. Use this time to peel and chop your garlic, open the anchovies and drain the can oil. You can pat dry them on kitchen rolls if needed. Grate your parmesan in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat up a saucepan with a little olive oil, add the garlic, chilli flakes and anchovies and let them melt. They will smell like they were meant to cook together! Lower the  heat as you don’t want burnt garlic. 
  4. Your broccoli will be ready now, so take each floret out of the water with a ladle and add to the saucepan. You want to keep the broccoli water to cook your pasta in, it will give it much more flavour this way. 
  5. Mix the broccoli with the rest of the ingredients and add one ladle of cooking water, the florets will begin to melt. Add a pinch of salt,generous pepper and about half of the grated cheese. You want your sauce to be thick, not liquid, so only add more cooking water when necessary and keep the heat low. The broccoli will dissolve and become one with the rest of the ingredients. 
  6. Meanwhile, bring the cooking water back to boil, do not salt it again, add your pasta and cook for about 10 minutes. 
  7. Once cooked, drain your pasta and add it to the saucepan. Finish with the rest of the parmesan, mix it in, grate more pepper on top and enjoy it very warm.

We recommend pairing it with the company of those you love, and the most comforting film you can think of! 

Irene & Margaux

The Salmon Pink Kitchen

Cooking, reading and writing from a salmon pink kitchen, Gastronomically yours, Irene & Margaux