In Which We Eat Broccoli

The Boy actually picked this one out, so I suppose I should let him write the post (not that he’d necessarily want to). I have to admit, I was not 100% on board at first – it’s not so much that I don’t like pesto, I just never want pesto, so I pouted and left most of the cooking to him. Aren’t I a sweetheart? Ha.

I also associate pistachios directly to pistachio ice cream, of which I am not a huge fan. Silly, I know. Cause look, they’re so pretty:

Pistachios ripe for the grinding.

Once your pistachios are shelled and ground, you make your pasta and throw in the broccoli at the last minute, which turns the whole pot into a green bubbling witch’s cauldron. In a good way.

See? Witch’s cauldron.

But once you drain it all, it looks like this:

Pasta and broccoli!

And then you portion it out and throw on your toppings – salt, chives and fennel pollen if you’re feeling fancy (we weren’t), and lots and lots of cheese. Seriously. The cheese is not just a garnish here, people. It is a key ingredient. But then, when is cheese not a key ingredient?

Cheesy deliciousness. I mean, broccoli goodness.

Pasta with Pistachios, Meyer Lemon and Broccoli
From Tasting Table

This is a simply and relatively healthy pasta dish – a good way to get some broccoli into your diet if you’re not real good at that – and the pistachio pesto and Parmesan cheese are excellent accoutrements to simple pasta. Again, don’t leave out the cheese! This begs for cheese. It pleads for cheese. Please add cheese.

Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 15 minutes

1 cup shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus extra for pasta water

1½ pounds medium tube-shaped pasta (such as maccheroni or penne)

1 large head broccoli, stems trimmed

2 garlic cloves

Juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon (or zest of 1 regular lemon with 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon orange juice)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup mint leaves

1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely grated Pepato or Pecorino Romano cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Sea salt

Fennel pollen (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the pistachios until fragrant and lightly toasted, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and cool, then coarsely grind in a food processor. Transfer the ground pistachios to a bowl and set aside

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some kosher salt and the pasta and cook until almost al dente, about 8 minutes. When the pasta is almost finished, add the broccoli to the pot and cook for 2 minutes more or until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta and broccoli through a large colander.

In the same food processor, combine the garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and kosher salt and grind into a fine paste. Add the parsley and mint and pulse to make a rough paste. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Transfer to a medium saucepan and stir in the ground pistachios.

Add the pasta water to the pesto; bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, broccoli and pesto. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside for 5 minutes. To serve, divide the pasta among plates or bowls and garnish with the grated cheese, chives, sea salt and fennel pollen, if using.

Recipe adapted from Jeff Cerciello, the artisan market at Farmshop, Santa Monica, CA.


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