Apr 17, 2013
Broccoli Pesto Pasta
I was definitely intrigued the first time that I saw this recipe. Using broccoli as the sauce for a pasta instead of just in the pasta or on the side seemed pretty smart. I was definitely skeptical, though. I just wasn't sure how it would translate or if it would be too...broccoli-ish. Once I started seeing it on multiple blogs, though, I knew that I had to give it a try.
I took a cue from Annie and used Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream and I think it added a nice tang to the dish. I under cooked my broccoli a little the first time I made this so make sure yours is at least fork tender, if not a little more done than that.
Broccoli Pesto Pasta
1 lb. broccoli
1 lb. pasta
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Up to ½ cup Greek yogurt or heavy cream
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. While waiting for the water to boil, chop the broccoli crowns into florets. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the tough outer skins of the broccoli stems and chop them into ¼-½-inch discs.
3. When the water begins to boil, add the broccoli to the water and cook until fork-tender, about 3-5 minutes, checking after the first 3 minutes for doneness. Remove the broccoli to a bowl with a fine mesh strainer or a skimmer, leaving the water in the pot.
4. Return water at a boil and add the pasta to the pot. Cook according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups of the pasta water and then drain the pasta well. Set aside.
5. Return the pot to the heat and add the butter and olive oil to the pot over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 30 seconds-1 minutes.
6. Return the cooked broccoli to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes to heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add in the Greek yogurt or cream and process until smooth. Add the reserved pasta water in small amounts until the sauce is smooth and creamy (add carefully and slowly to not create a watery sauce). Season to taste.
8. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with additional grated Parmesan.
barely adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Smitten Kitchen