*with my comments and some rephrasing
PASTA WITH BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER OR BROCCOLI RABE
(all amounts flexible)
1 lb. broccoli, cauliflower, or broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into pieces (no need to get too fussy--the shape you start with doesn't matter in the end as long as it's a uniform size--also, fine to include the stems: I like to run a vegetable peeler over them before chopping)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic or more (I always use at least 2--the more the better, within reason)
1 lb. penne, ziti, or other cut pasta (I like multicolored veggie spirals or radiatori, but any cut pasta will work)
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Don't skimp on the salt: it should taste like the sea, as they say. Boil the broccoli until fairly tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, stir, and cook until it begins to sizzle, about a minute. Remove from heat and keep warm.
2. Scoop the broccoli out of the water with a slotted spoon (I use the pasta-cooking insert for my pot) and transfer to the skillet. Keep the water boiling for the pasta. Cook the broccoli in the skillet over medium-high heat, stirring and mashing, until it is hot and quite soft, adding some pasta water as needed.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water. When the pasta is about a minute away from being done, drain it, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet with the broccoli and stir gently with a large spoon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, plus cooking water as needed. I haven't tried it, but nutritional yeast would probably also be good on this. Serve.