March 23, 2008

Taste & Create: Broccoli Pesto Pasta

I was paired with Canadian blogger "Bellini Valli" of More Than Burnt Toast for this month's Taste & Create event.

She has loads of great looking food on her blog, so many good recipes that it took me a while to decide what to make! I originally planned to make her Favourite Falafel, but never planned ahead with the bean soaking (I will make that soon, though!). Instead, I opted to make the
Broccoli Pesto Pasta, which she says is "a delicious rendition of pesto to make this time of the year when broccoli is readily available and basil is not. What a great idea!

Here's the recipe:

2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley or perhaps cilantro
1 - 2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts(toasted)
1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2-4 T extra virgin olive oil
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters of the way full with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes or just until slightly tender, but still with a bit of snap. Drain and immediately immerse the broccoli in ice cold water to retain the bright green color. Drain again, and transfer the broccoli to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  • Add parsley, garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and ricotta cheese. Pulse 6-8 times, until the mixture forms a chunky paste. Do not puree! Pulse again, drizzling in a few tablespoons of olive oil at a time. When the mixture reaches the desired consistency, stop and serve immediately with pasta of your choice, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Sauce before blending...

Sauce after blending...

This had really great flavor, but the texture was a bit too dry. I think that was my fault, though, as I seemed to have used too much sauce & not enough pasta. See?

This is what the Bellini's original recipe looked like:

I am planning to try this again for lunch this week, but I'll leave out the ricotta and add more olive oil...more like a traditional pesto. Nevertheless, I think this broccoli ricotta mixture would be mighty tasty spread on crispy baguette slices!

Bellini made the artichoke bread I took to Port Club last August. Check out her post!


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Nice pesto Kelly. The broccoli pesto I find is drier than regular pesto; a good solution would be to add more oil and a few chili my case I would add more cheese, maybe a nice chevre:D Enjoy!!

Anonymous said...

This looks fantastic -- I'm getting to that "restless from lack of fresh local food" point, and this is the kind of dish that will tide me over until there are fresh greens and spring veggies. The parsley/cilantro (I think I'll go with parsley) is so bright and lively -- looking forward to trying this.

Also, what is Port Club???

Anonymous said...

That is really neat the way you make each others recipes. How would you start such a thing??? I am very intrigued.