Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Double Broccoli Pesto Pasta

A hearty, winter-y take on the classic basic pesto. Adapted from this 101Cookbooks post. Heidi suggests serving this as a side dish, but I added some lightly sauteed chicken and made it into a full meal.

1 medium head of broccoli (about 3 cups), cut into very small florets
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
1 clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/2 pound (8 ounces) dried whole wheat pasta

Bring two pots of water to a boil, one for the broccoli and one for the pasta.

To cook the broccoli, salt the boiling water and add about 3/4 of the broccoli. Cook for just twelve seconds. Drain immediately and run cold water over the broccoli to stop the cooking. Puree in a food processor along with the walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil while still blending. Taste, adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed and set aside. You can add more olive oil or some warm water to thin it out.

To cook the remaining broccoli florets, saute in a skillet with a bit of salt, olive oil, and water until cooked to your liking. Put aside.

To cook the pasta, salt the boiling water generously and add the pasta. Boil until just barely tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Gently stir in about half of the pesto. Taste, add more pesto to your liking. Served topped the broccoli florets and a dusting of Parmesan cheese.

Makes about 6 side servings or 3 main servings.

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