Thursday, December 12

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto

Turn cooked broccoli into a flavorful pesto sauce in this Smitten Kitchen recipe

Broccoli has always been one of my favorite vegetables and I honestly can't understand the bad rap that it gets among some groups of people. It's pretty much available at every grocery store year round and can be used in a variety of preparations. If you're like me, you might get in a rut of just roasting, steaming, or sauteing the florets, but this broccoli "pesto" pasta will remind you of its versatility and provides the perfect solution for using the thick broccoli stalks that often get tossed out. The recipe is adapted from Deb Perelman's and calls for cooking the broccoli and then pureeing it with a little cream and seasonings to form a thick, sturdy sauce. I like to serve it over whole wheat spaghetti and liberally top with red chili flakes and grated parm. It's the perfect weeknight supper and an even quicker meal if you're able to use up leftover steamed broccoli from the night before.

More Broccoli Recipes:
- Broccoli Fried Brown Rice
- Caramelized Broccoli
- Penne with Broccolini and Sausage

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto:
  • Slice the florets off of 1 lb. of broccoli, then peel the thick outer skin from the stem and slice into 1" pieces.
  • Cook broccoli in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or until tender, then drain and set aside.*
  • In a skillet, add in 1 tbsp. olive oil and cook 1 diced onion over medium heat for 7 minutes, or until soft. Add in 3 minced cloves of garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the broccoli, 1/2 c. heavy cream, a large pinch of red chili flakes, the zest of one lemon, and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for a minute, then transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse until a chunky sauce forms.**
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook 1 lb. of whole wheat spaghetti until al dente.
  • Drain, reserving 1 c. pasta water, and return to the pot you boiled the pasta in.
  • Toss in the broccoli sauce, moistening with 1/2 c. pasta water or more if necessary, until sauce coats pasta.
  • Divide onto plates and top with grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red chili flakes.

Serves four-six
*Or steam until tender and set aside.
**If mixture is too thick, add a little bit of water until it forms more of a sauce-like consistency. You'll be mixing it with pasta cooking water later, though, so don't dilute it too much to begin with.