Skip to Content
Recipes

A Creamy Pasta Dish from Under the Tuscan Sun

Frances Mayes, best-selling author of "Under the Tuscan Sun," shares a recipe inspired by the ingredients of her region.

By Frances Mayes

10:21 AM EST on November 6, 2023

Cavatelli with Broccoli Romano in Creamy Parmigiano Sauce.

Cavatelli with Broccoli Romano in Creamy Parmigiano Sauce.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We are thrilled to have best-selling author Frances Mayes ("Under the Tuscan Sun" and many more) contribute food writing to Appetito. The recipes shared are from her cookbook, Pasta Veloce, which was inspired by, well, her experiences under the Tuscan sun, including the production of her very own olive oil, Bramasole, from the eponymous estate where she lives half of the year with her husband, Edward, a poet and olive farmer.

Florets of chartreuse Romano, sometimes called “broccoli Romanesco,” resemble little forest trees in a fairy tale. The whorls branch out in a spiraling Fibonacci pattern. A relative of broccoli and cauliflower, broccoli Romano tastes like a combination of both. The sauce adheres well to the spirals of cavatelli, corkscrews. Regular broccoli will work as well if the Romano is out of season.

Cavatelli with Broccoli Romano in Creamy Parmigiano Sauce

Cavatelli with Broccoli Romano in Creamy Parmigiano Sauce

Recipe by Frances Mayes
0.0 from 0 votes
Servings

2

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces 8 cavatelli

  • 1 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 3 garlic cloves, slivered

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 extra virgin olive oil

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 head 1 broccoli Romano, about 12 ounces, divided into florets

  • 1 cup 1 heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons 2 fresh lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 grated Pecorino Romano

Directions

  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, 9 to 10 minutes.
  • Scoop out and reserve ½ cup (120 ml) of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat until the onion is softened and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Steam the broccoli Romano until it is tender enough for a fork to pierce it with a little resistance, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Reserve a handful of florets for garnishing the plates. 
  • In a food processor, combine the remaining florets with the sautéed onion and garlic.
  • Add the cream and lemon juice.
  • Puree until smooth, adding as much of the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to create a thick, creamy sauce.
  • Scrape the sauce back into the skillet, add the drained pasta, and toss to coat.
  • Reheat over medium heat, tossing, until hot.
  • Divide among bowls or plates.
  • Top with the reserved florets and a generous sprinkling of Pecorino.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @appetitomagazine on Instagram and hashtag it with #italianfoodanddrink

Like this recipe?

Follow @Appetitomagazine on Pinterest

Follow us on Facebook!

Follow us on Facebook

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Appetito

Chef Gian Piero Fava and His 5 Must-Try Dishes in Rome

Our contributor consulted with renowned Roman chef, Gian Piero Fava, about essential dishes of the Eternal City.

May 22, 2024

Pizza City Fest Nashville Announced

Chicago pizza expert Steve Dolinsky’s festival will expand to its third city in the fall of 2024, bringing regional pies to Music City.

May 21, 2024

Get to Know the Mediterranean Aperitivo

Our contributor explains how to pair food and drink from around the Mediterranean for an elevated aperitivo experience.

May 21, 2024

A Revelatory Lunch at Via Cassia in Hudson, NY

A former restaurant owner finds inspiration in the approach to dining at Via Cassia, a new Italian restaurant in the Hudson Valley.

May 20, 2024
See all posts