Nigel Slater’s recipe for spaghetti with broccoli and herb sauce

The recipe
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Meanwhile, cut 500g of broccoli into small florets and cut the main stalk into small pieces.

Add salt to the water, then introduce the broccoli, stems first, followed a minute or so later by the florets, and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the broccoli and set it aside.

Cook 250g of spaghetti in deep, generously salted boiling water for about 9 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing: put 10 large mint leaves, 15 large basil leaves, a handful of parsley and 6 tbsp of olive oil in a blender and process everything to a dark green dressing. Add 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar and a little salt.

Transfer the dressing to a bowl and add 1 tsp of capers, and another of bottled green peppercorns, along with 1 tbsp of their pickling liquor.

Drain the spaghetti then toss it with the broccoli and the green dressing, and serve it immediately. Enough for 2

The trick
A lovely way in which you can keep the broccoli crisp is to cook the florets in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes then drain them and plunge them straight into a bowl of water containing ice cubes. The cold, crunchy vegetables are a fine contrast with the soft, hot strands of spaghetti.

The twist
Anchovies can be finely chopped and incorporated into the green dressing. I like to fry a handful of breadcrumbs, or better, I think, focaccia crumbs, in olive oil until they are crisp, then scatter the crumbs over the spaghetti just before serving.