Pesto is one of my favourite sauces to use on not only spaghetti but with meats and fish as well. I love the intense bold flavours and the versatility of the sauce. Pesto as most of you know is traditionally made with basil, however, don’t stop at what is traditional, be creative and I can hands down tell you it will most likely be tastier than the traditional version. Some of my favourite pesto sauces are walnut, red beats, sundried tomatoes and now broccoli pesto. Yes broccoli. For some it may be quite known, but I must honestly say I had never thought of broccoli as my pesto base, and boy was I in for a treat.
Broccoli is my absolut favorite vegetable. I love it just steamed with some lemon juice and garlic. My husband on the other hand can not stand the sight, smell or taste of it. I think the greener the vegetable the more he tends to shake his head at the option of having it for dinner. Now I had just bought two beautiful heads of broccoli, how was I going to get this nutritious little monster in our dinner plan? Like most “women” would do, you hide it. So I thought he loves spaghetti, why not combine it in the sauce. Hence the broccoli pesto recipe was born.
This recipe is so easy and so aboslultely tasty. I personally like using the pesto sauce as is on my pasta, but since my husband is not a fan of a strong garlic taste, I made a sauce for his spaghetti and it mellowed down the intense flavours a bit and made a delicious creamy sauce. This recipe is not only perfect and quick for dinner, but is a big crowd pleaser. Even for those who look away at the sight of broccoli.
1 head broccoli
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch basil
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan (or subsitute for vegan parmesan)
Salt and Pepper
In a medium pot heat salted water. Once the water is boiling add your broccoli flowers. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Before straiing the broccoli keep about 1 cup of your broccoli water and set aside. In a blender add cooked broccoli, garlic, olive oil, and half of the parmesan. Pulse. Once mixed, add the basil, rest of the parmesan, half of the broccoli water, salt and pepper to taste.
Pulse until you have the consistency you like. If it is too thin, add more parmesan. If too thick, add more of your broccoli water or olive oil.
Spaghetti with Zesty Broccoli Pesto
Spaghetti noodles, cooked (save 1/2 cup pasta water)
4-5 tbsp broccoli pesto
1 cup whole milk (or subsitute with non dairy, unsweetened milk)
1 lemon, juice
8 cherry tomatoes, diced
1 handful rucola
Salt and Pepper
Cook your spaghetti and set aside. In a medium pan add the broccoli pesto, milk and salt and pepper. Allow it to simmer for about 3 minutes. Add cooked pasta and mix. Add pasta water and lemon juice, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the sauce has reached the consistency you desire. Remove from the heat and add the diced tomatoes and rucola, mix and serve.