I am currently rounding out my last week of Culinary School at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. It has been an amazing few months, chock full of veg-centric culinary immersion. Being creative with your veggies is a priority at the school, and something I have always been passionate about. Another strong passion of mine is for pesto, which is typically a robust green sauce made from fresh herbs. In my mission to add more veggies into your life, I bring you broccoli pesto, the perfect way to add more green into your diet- or sneak it in for someone who may not be such a die hard veghead.
Making a pesto from blanched broccoli and toasted walnuts gives this pasta topper mega nutritional mileage. Protein and fiber come from the walnuts, and Vitamins K and C are found in the broccoli. These two ingredients are blended together to make a vibrant and delicious pesto. Add various herbs or switch up the nuts and toss with your favorite pasta shape or spiralized noodle for a simple summer or anytime meal.
pasta with Broccoli Pesto + Oven Roasted Tomatoes
ingredients for the pasta
16oz of your favorite whole grain or gluten-free pasta, shells recommended
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or left whole
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup basil
Ingredients for broccoli pesto
Makes 1 ½ cups - repurpose leftover pesto with scrambled eggs or as a dip with crudités
1 head broccoli
½ cup walnuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest + 2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon chili flakes + additional for finishing
⅓ cup olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. On a parchment paper-lined sheet tray, toss tomatoes with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour or until soft and beginning to wrinkle.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
3. To prep the broccoli for the pesto, cut off the florets and set aside. Trim the end of the broccoli stalk and, using a peeler, peel off the outer layer of stalk and roughly chop. Prepare a large bowl of ice water to use to shock the broccoli. Toss the stems and the florets into the water and let cook for four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the ice bath and chill. Drain and set aside. Leave pot of water on stove to cook pasta.
4. In a food processor, add garlic and pulse gently. Add in broccoli, walnuts, chili flakes, lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse a few more times until all of the ingredients are chopped. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil and puree until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
5. Cook the pasta al dente in the same water that was used to blanch the broccoli. Remove ½ cup pasta water and drain.
6. In a large serving bowl, add ¾ cup pesto, ¼ cup pasta water, and whisk to combine. Pour in hot pasta and toss well, making sure to incorporate pesto into pasta. Add additional pesto and pasta water, if needed. Top with oven roasted tomatoes, torn basil leaves, and additional chili flakes.
This recipe originally appeared on Mind Body Green. Catch the full article here.
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