Home Cooking: Tom Collecchio’s One-Pan Pasta

I am a HUGE Tom Colleccio fan. I’ve read his books, I follow him on Twitter, I watch Top Chef whenever I get the chance, and when we were going to visit New York City last year we had plans to have dinner at one of his restaurants, Craft, and also stop at ‘wichcraft, his sandwich shop, for lunch. Chef Colleccio doesn’t just make great food; he is also a strong advocate for the restaurant industry and restaurant workers (he has fought tirelessly for them throughout the pandemic) and is deeply involved with hunger issues, both in New York and nationally.

Chef Colleccio mentioned this recipe on Twitter the other day, so I went to check it out and was excited to see we had everything on hand to make it. Aside from some chopping (the ham and the broccoli), everything was done and ready for the table in less than 20 minutes. We all raved about the results (YaYu had two helpings), and it immediately reached “favorite recipe” status and will be in frequent rotation here.

While the type of pasta was not indicated in the recipe, I used spaghetti because that’s what I had on hand, but I think almost any shape would work. The recipe does note that other vegetables can be substituted for the broccoli, such as frozen peas, asparagus or cauliflower. The half-cup of olive oil called for was too much for me; I used 1/4 cup and it was enough.


  • 1 pound dry pasta
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut crosswise to make small, irregular pieces
  • 3/4 pound smoked pork loin, smoked ham, or smoked turkey, cut into 1/3″ cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water; generously add salt to the water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. About 3 – 4 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the broccoli to the pot and continue to simmer.

Set aside some of the hot pasta water and drain the pasta and broccoli; set it aside for a minute. Return the pot to the stove, add half of the olive oil, and saute the garlic until it begins to brown, then add the meat and heat through.

Add the pasta and broccoli back to the pot and combine with the ham and garlic. Then add the Parmesan cheese and remaining olive oil and toss, then the pasta water, a little at a time, stirring until there is a creamy sauce coating everything.

Season generously with fresh cracked pepper and with more cheese on the side, if desired.


12 thoughts on “Home Cooking: Tom Collecchio’s One-Pan Pasta

  1. Not today but—-you mentioned you were watching “Last Tango In Halifax” a short while ago. We had seen it listed but didn’t look appealing. We tried it thanks to your mention and we’re enjoying it. Thanks. Enjoy you blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a very sweet series, and pretty realistic in some ways about building and sustaining relationships later in life and all the things that can get in the way (especially family). I hope they do another season, but from what I’ve read I don’t think it will happen.

      Thank you too for reading and taking the time to comment. Hearing from readers is the best part of this enterprise!


  2. 🙂 This has been a go to in my household for many years.I have been quick cooking my veggies with the pasta just like this. If the veggie is too delicate I just drain the pasta into a colander already holding the veggie and let the steaming water and hot pasta cook it. Yum!


    1. I’ve done spaghetti and greens like this for ages – garlic, olive oil, and toasted pine nuts for Italian; vegetable and sesame oils for Asian; but this was better – I never thought to try broccoli, and slicing it the way he recommends made it very easy. I have also used the colander method – the cheese I used though to bind it all together is sadly no longer available.


  3. I saw this picture on your last photo and thought it sounded good. Thanks for posting the recipe. I’m definitely adding it to my menu next week.


      1. I just made this for lunch and it was delicious. We have a painter here working on our kitchen and he said it was “fantastic!” Thanks for sharing. I used up the broccoli earlier this week so I made it with cauliflower and it worked great. (Plus it is great that it is a one pot dish because we need easy clean-up with the renovations we are doing.


      2. I am looking forward to making it again. Fresh broccoli is in season at the farmers’ market right now, so I’ll go with that again, but otherwise cauliflower sounds great. So do peas.


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