Monday, March 18, 2013

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

As soon as I saw Annie's recipe for Broccoli Pesto Pasta in Google Reader I knew I needed to make it ASAP. Broccoli is one of our favorite veggies and I loved the idea of pureeing it into a sauce rather than leaving it whole. I don't know about you but I get into a rut with veggies and how I prepare them so this was a refreshing twist.

broccoli pasta

Like almost every working parent I love easy weeknight meals and this fits the bill. Prepping the broccoli probably took the most amount of time and even though the ingredient list is short this packs a great flavor punch between the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Baby Girl kept sneaking pieces of the blanched broccoli before I added it to the sauce. Proud mama moment right there.

broccoli pasta1

Like Annie's kids, Baby Girl gobbled up her serving and asked for more. I cut down on the red pepper flakes because I didn't want it to be too spicy and 1/4 teaspoon was plenty for our tastes. SP wasn't sure how he felt about the pureed broccoli sauce so I think next time I might keep a few pieces of broccoli aside to toss in at the end to appease him.

broccoli pasta2

I wanted to give a quick shout-out to the end of daylight savings time. I was able to photograph dinner outside for the first time in months. Cue happy dance.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta
As seen on Annie’s Eats

1 lb. broccoli crowns
1 lb. pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, chop the broccoli crowns into florets. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer skins of the broccoli stems, and chop the stems into ½-inch discs. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli to the water to boil briefly just until fork-tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a bowl, leaving the water in the pot. (Use a skimmer or strainer to remove the broccoli if you boiled it.)

Maintain the water at a boil. Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups of the pasta water and then drain the pasta well. Set aside.

Return the pot to the heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pot over medium-high heat, heating until the butter is melted. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and cook 1-2 minutes more. Return the cooked broccoli to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes more to heat through. Season with pepper to taste.

Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor or blender. Pulse in short bursts, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is finely chopped. Add in the cream and process until smooth. If needed, add the reserved pasta water a little bit at a time just until the sauce is smooth and creamy. (Don’t overdo it – you don’t want a watery sauce!) Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. In a large bowl (or in the pot), toss the pasta with the sauce. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.


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