I suppose I am still a bit on vacation mode from the weekend, I am sure many of you felt the same exact way this morning when that alarm clock went off today. Coming off a long weekend is never easy, back to the grind and back to reality. We entertained friends here for the fourth then we headed down to the beach to get some family photos taken with my whole extended family- 13 of us to be exact! The rest of the weekend was spent lounging on the beach enjoying the sun that has been missing for quite some time in the state of New Jersey. All I wanted to do last night when we arrived home was relax some more and catch up on some TV so blogging didn’t happen.
This would be a great recipe to ease yourself back into the work week because we all know that cooking is probably the last thing on your mind today. For some reason, pasta dishes always seem to an afterthought of mine. This one will not be forgotten! We were drowning in broccoli last week from our CSA and I knew I had wanted to use some of it for this pasta dish. The pasta is coated in a creamy sauce (thank you Greek yogurt) and has the perfect amount of seasoning to it. The garlic and onion add body to the sauce while the red pepper flakes add just a hint of spice. Broccoli is not necessarily my favorite vegetable to eat, but in this dish it is a stand out that may just make me into a broccoli fan after all!
Broccoli Pesto Pasta
1 lb. broccoli
1 lb. pasta
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
Up to ½ cup heavy cream (or greek yogurt)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan, for serving
What you’ll do:
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, chop the broccoli crowns into florets. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the tough outer skins of the broccoli stems, and chop the stems into ½-inch discs. When the water has started boiling, add the broccoli to the water to boil for about 3-4 minutes. After the broccoli is fork tender, remove using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Keep 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. Return the empty pot back to the heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pot, letting the butter melt Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes more or until fragrant. 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. (If you are using a blender, make sure to allow the steam to escape by removing the lid and cover with a towel). Pulse in short bursts, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is finely chopped. Add in the cream or greek yogurt and process until smooth. If necessary, add the reserved pasta water a small amount at a time to get your desired consistency. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve with Parmesan on top.