Pasta sauce for a whole new set of teeth

When you reach a certain age, you have certain rights. If you are twenty for instance, it’s your job to eat crunchy vegetables, cook crunchy vegetables and go around telling everybody that that’s what you should be doing. When you are forty, you have the right to not talk about what you eat, and when you are eighty say, you have the right to eat what you want, how you want it.
In case you’re not eighty yet, take a day’s license to cook like you’re eighty. When nobody’s looking, keep the broccoli on the heat until it is no longer green, possibly no longer has nutritional value, and is nearly smooth, not a crunch or even the suggestion that there ever was a crunch. You will have one of the best sauces known to pasta and grey haired people.
The trick is, don’t fool yourself that you can use frozen broccoli or old broccoli, just because your cooking it to its limits. Start out with four or even five cloves of garlic, topped and tailed and then cut in half. Glaze a fine, heavy frying pan with your best olive oil. Saute the garlic until it’s golden. Throw in two sprigs of parsley and six basil leaves. Let them go dark green and gorgeous. Add one finely diced onion, and some salt. If you have to add a little more olive oil so that the onion is well coated, do that. Cook the onion for about fifteen to twenty minutes over a low flame until it’s calling to you. Add a few red pepper flakes. Maybe six.
Chop up a large head of broccoli, slicing the stalks very finely on the diagonal. Add that. Season with salt. Add about a quarter cup of hot water at a time, stirring around every once in a while until the water is evaporated. Keep going with adding the water for a while–it’s going to take you about forty five minutes; if you want to do it right, you have to remember 80 year olds have time to cook–until the broccoli is completely soft. Add salt and a grind of black and pepper, and if you like, a little more fresh basil torn in.
Pour half a box of orchiette into plenty of salted, boiling water. When it’s al dente, drain, reserving some of the water. Grate a pile of parmesan. Combine the pasta with the broccoli, adding just a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to help it cling to all of the noodles. Add the cheese, a few tablespoons of room temperature butter, and taste for salt and pepper, and tell me it ain’t great being eighty.

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