1 large head broccolo romanesco, about 2 lb.
1 Tbs. salt
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small dried red chili
1 lb. penne, rigatoni or conchiglie
Discard only the largest or any discolored leaves from the vegetable. For broccolo romanesco or cauliflower, remove the core and separate the head into florets. For broccoli or broccoli rabe, separate the leaves and the florets. Cut off the bottom of the thinner, more tender stems and then cut into 1-inch pieces. Cut off the bottom of the thicker stems and then use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel away the tough outer skin. Cut the thicker stems into 1/2-inch pieces.
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water (at least 4 quarts) to a rapid boil over high heat. Add the salt and the broccolo romanesco or other vegetable and cook until quite tender, about 8 minutes.
Using a large slotted spoon or a wire skimmer, transfer the vegetable to a colander. Leave the water in the pot for cooking the pasta later.
In a large, deep fry pan over medium heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the garlic and chili and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden brown and the chili is browned, about 2 minutes (do not allow the garlic to burn). Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the garlic and chili. Add the boiled vegetable.
Meanwhile, bring the vegetable cooking water back to a rapid boil over high heat. Add the pasta and stir for the first minute of cooking and occasionally thereafter.
Sauté the vegetable gently while the pasta cooks, pushing it around and breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon. When the pasta is about half done, stir a ladleful of the pasta water into the fry pan. Let the water evaporate, then stir in a second ladleful of water, again letting it evaporate.
Cook the pasta until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain it but not too dry, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the fry pan, remove from the heat, and toss together the pasta and vegetable until well combined. Add a bit of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems too dry.
Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl or individual bowls. Top with a swirl of olive oil and serve immediately.